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What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Autodesk

What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Autodesk

In a recent, surprising move, Autodesk announced some of their educational apps and programming will be available for free to students, teachers, schools, and colleges.

More than 680 million students and teachers will benefit from this worldwide, and it could impact as many as 800,000 schools in nearly 200 countries.

Their software will give students access to design tools and programs, helping in a wide array of industries.

From engineering to manufacturing, Autodesk helps users gain the skills to solve important, relevant challenges.

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This is an important day for the educational community, and other companies are taking notice. It’s a big move by Autodesk, and may change how software programming is distributed in the future.

Only time will tell, but, thanks to this decision, we foresee big changes coming.

What This Means for Entrepreneurs

A few lessons can be learned from Autodesk’s decision to invest in the educational community. Whether you’re a startup or an established software company, here are some immediate takeaways you may find valuable.

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1. Education is important.

From a public relations perspective, Autodesk’s strategy is crystal clear. By investing in education, they are showing that they care about the next generation and are willing to aid in their growth.

It’s about more than offering a free product; it’s about extending goodwill where generosity is needed. As an entrepreneur, the takeaway is that investing in education can provide excellent PR benefits.

2. Build from the ground up.

When marketing an existing product, repositioning an old product, or launching a new one, it’s important to strategically build on a solid foundation.

For a company that makes money by supplying the workforce with design tools, it only makes sense that they would start with the next generation of the workforce.

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By focusing on students who are five or ten years away from becoming potential customers, Autodesk is planting proverbial seeds.

3. Develop a unique product that retains customers.

By utilizing innovative, proprietary software features, Autodesk is setting certain standards that users will begin to expect. Once users become used to the features offered by Autodesk, they won’t ever want to part ways.

Strategically speaking, Autodesk is choosing to become a leader in the industry, as opposed to a follower or imitator. People will continue to choose Autodesk, not because they have to, but because they want to.

4. Consumers want ease of use.

While Autodesk’s latest announcement about their new business model is certainly interesting for those involved in the software development industry, more telling are the various types of products and services they offer.

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When analyzing Autodesk and other companies like Invision, a workflow collaboration tool for mobile app designers, it’s becoming clear that the future of the industry lies in ease of use. Designers are looking for clear features that minimize misunderstandings and maximize output.

5. Resources are available.

Never before in the history of the world has there been so much technological capability and key resources. When looking at Autodesk as a whole, entrepreneurs should be encouraged.

They should be excited about the capabilities and resources available at their fingertips and enthusiastic about how they’ll help them accomplish tasks and collaborate in the future.

Invest in Learning

As an entrepreneur looking to develop products and services that reach millions of people and successfully satisfy the need for creative design platforms, it’s up to you to learn from the best. Companies like Autodesk and Invision are widely considered leaders in the industry and provide aspiring entrepreneurs with plenty of life-lessons.

Not only do they provide a solid picture of what it looks like to invest in consumers, but they also supply valuable insight about the future of the design industry, and what you need to experience long-term success. Follow their example, and you’ll likely encounter success in the future.

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Larry Alton

Business Consultant

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Published on December 18, 2018

How to Brand Yourself and Make Your Business Stand Out

How to Brand Yourself and Make Your Business Stand Out

You’ve been in business for years and have finally hit your plateau.

The tactics you’d implemented for your customers aren’t working as they’ve used to. You feel like your business has fallen out of the spotlight and now you’d have to settle for any business you get. It’s how businesses work, right?

The truth is that some brands will fade off the business world–while others will adapt well and continue to grow. You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself for where your business currently stands. After all, you’d kept applying tactics that provided predictable results.

Instead, decide to not settle for average results and spend more time building your brand. To make your business stand out from your competition, you need to be unforgettable. But how can you?

In this article, I’ll cover timeless tactics that have worked for other businesses. If you apply these tactics correctly your competition won’t be able to copy them. Here’s how to brand yourself and make your business stand out:

1. Win Your Audience’s Hearts with Authenticity

The truth has always shined.

Even without the technology we have today, people always had a way of finding out if someone was lying. And, with everyone engaging in social media today, it’s hard to hide from the truth. Yet, this seems to be what many businesses fail to do.

For example, companies like Listerine have been fined for lying.[1] A quick buck today won’t be worth it in the long run. Instead, practice being authentic to your customers and they’ll eventually rely on you.

Allow your customers to buy your products with a money-back guarantee – then deliver on your promise. Be consistent with the content you provide and stay true to your brand.

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For example, if you provide coaching services for entrepreneurs, don’t sponsor irrelevant brands. If you stop caring about your brand’s mission, your audience will notice. They’ll question your integrity with your business and stop trusting your brand.

But if you gain your customer’s trust, you’ll start standing out from your competition. Your customers will feel safe purchasing from you since they’ll know you’re honest.

2. Share a Story No One Will Be Able to Copy

A few decades ago, a brand would’ve gotten away without being unique. That’s because back then starting a business was not accessible to most people. You’d either need enough money to launch your business or have the credentials. And even if you had all these qualifications, you needed to get past the gatekeepers.

Today, technology has disrupted many of the barriers that were present a few decades ago. For example, today a college student can launch a Podcast within a week. He can create a website in a few hours and record a few Podcast episodes. If he’s persistent, he can build a large following overtime and get paid by sponsors.

This is great news for aspiring entrepreneurs but there’s more competition than ever. You can only do so much before other businesses begin to copy you. But what no business can copy is your story.

That’s why you need to share your story with your audience.

For example, if you have a money blog, share how you’ve overcome your financial struggles. If you run a freelance writing business, share how you’ve overcome writer’s block. The more your audience can relate to you the better.

Without a story, your business won’t stand out. And if you copy what’s working for other businesses, you’ll experience short-term success.

Take some time to share your story with the world, your audience will love you more for it.

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3. Stop Reinventing Every Single Thing

“Don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it.” – Anthony J.D’angelo

You may have heard that being original is the way to stand out. While this is true to an extent, you also shouldn’t be original when something is already working.

For example, if your competition has a successful Podcast in your field, then so can you. Don’t search for better alternatives to a Podcast if it’s already working.

Why?

Because this is a waste of time. Instead, copy what’s already working and make it your own.[2] If your competition has a Podcast, figure out which areas you can improve and tailor it around your brand.

Knowing this you can now spy on your competition and determine which areas you can improve. But, know that it also works the other way around. Others will view your business and copy what’s working for you.

That’s why it’s important to stay true to your brand and be authentic with your audience. When you do, your competition won’t be able to copy your unique traits. Have an abundant mindset and feel confident for what your business has to offer.

4. Shine Because of Your Uniqueness

Stop trying to help the entire world and focus on helping a specific group of people instead.

I get it, you’re willing to help almost everyone because you want to bring in more business. But the truth is that if you resonate with everyone, you resonate with no one.

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Take, for example, a marketing agency that helps businesses promote their product. This business doesn’t speak to anyone but gets occasional sales throughout the year.

But what if there was a similar marketing agency dedicated to helping real estate agents? If there was a real estate agent looking for help in marketing–who do you think they’ll choose? That’s why niching down is necessary if you hope to stand out from your competition.

Determine which customers you enjoy working with the most and determine which customers bring in the most revenue. Once you’ve gathered enough data, focus on servicing your ideal customer.

Don’t expect immediate results since this won’t be an easy transition. If you’re currently helping a narrow audience, slowly transition into a niche audience. Niching down is crucial to building raving fans.

5. Be the Brand Everyone Can Depend On

Being the brand your customers can depend on is important. How many times have you bought a product that’s failed on its promise? Or have settled for an average service?

Exceeding your customer’s expectations is a sure way to make your brand stand out. In the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, studies on human psychology prove that when you give to others, they’ll reciprocate. Offer your customers free consulting, a free ebook, or free quality content. Eventually, they’ll be happy to reciprocate after receiving value from you.

View what your competition is doing and surpass their offers. For example, if your competition offers a free 15-minute consulting call, offer 30 minutes. When you focus on helping others more, your customers will notice.

Make it your mission to serve your customers first and then worry about making a profit. Other ways for your business to be reliable is by inspiring your customers. That’s right, a business isn’t only about selling, it’s also helping customers achieve their goals.

For example, you can write content that will inspire your audience to take action. You can interview guests that will push your audience to break bad habits. Get creative and look for more ways in which your audience can depend on you with.

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The Bottom Line

Imagine serving fewer customers and getting paid more than ever.

Despite the fierce competition, you’ve got fans wanting to buy your products and services. Although this may seem impossible right now, it’s not. If other brands have been able to stand out in a crowded industries, why can’t yours?

The truth is that standing out from your competition isn’t easy. There’s no secret formula that’s available to the rest of the world. The trick is to do what most brands are unwilling to do.

Many businesses don’t want to niche down because this will mean a loss in sales. But that’s sacrificing short-term gains for long-term success. Niching down is necessary to build a brand your customers will love.

Many businesses will spend a lot of money looking for ways to innovate, but won’t apply what’s working. But, not you.

You’ve got what it takes to stand out from your competition. Start slowly and master each principle covered here. Now go and make your business stand out like never before.

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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