Beat the competition by thinking outside the box

In 2019, more than 32 million businesses existed in the U.S. alone. For today’s entrepreneurs, founders, and CEOs, that means it’s harder than ever to stand out from the crowd.

A strong digital product goes a long way, but the competition is stiff there as well. As of 2020, there are more than 3 million apps in the Google Play store and more than 2 million in the Apple App Store.

So how does today’s CEO give their company that leading edge? By thinking outside the box.

What does thinking outside the box mean?

Thinking outside the box means looking at the problem from a different angle, considering an approach that hasn’t been tried before—basically just coming up with new ways to solve a problem.

Taking a new approach and trying to see things in a different way can help you solve problems, strengthen branding, and provide a better customer experience, among other things.

For example, take Aflac. In the 1990s, CEO Daniel P. Amos realized that his company needed to rebrand if it had any chance of standing out in the over-populated insurance industry. First, he changed the name from “American Family Life Assurance Company,” to the acronym “Aflac.” Then he hired a New York-based creative agency to pitch a new commercial concept.

One of the marketers thought “Aflac” sounded like something a duck would say, so they came up with a white duck to represent the brand. It was a risky proposal, but they pitched it anyway.

Amos was initially uncertain, but the duck commercial performed incredibly well, so he decided to take a risk and try it. The rest is history.

A white duck certainly isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of insurance, but somehow it worked. Thinking outside the box helped Aflac stand out from the competition.

7 ways to think outside the box

Unfortunately, thinking outside the box is easier said than done. So how do you arrive at that eureka moment? Here are some ideas:

  • Collaborate.

Ask your team members for help. You might even turn it into a competition and offer an incentive for the winning idea.

  • Read about how someone else solved a similar problem.

Obviously, you can’t just copy someone else’s idea, but learning about how other companies solved a problem might open your mind up to new ways of thinking.

  • Do the opposite of what’s expected.

Ask yourself: what does everyone expect me to do? Then think about doing the opposite.

  • Ask questions.

If you’ve been doing things a certain way for a long time, ask yourself why. Is that approach working? If not, why? Questioning everything can help you decide what to keep, what to let go of, and what to change up.

  • Change your environment.

Sometimes, all it takes to spark new ideas is a change of scene. Go for a walk outside, eat lunch in a different place than usual, or switch up your workplace.

  • Outsource.

Two heads are better than one, and more than two heads are even better! Sometimes you need a fresh perspective from outside your organization.

Band of coders can help you beat the competition

At Band of Coders, we specialize in thinking outside the box. If you need to build a technical product that stands out, we can provide a full-range, customized team of developers, strategists, and technical engineers, led by a CTO, to help turn your vision into a reality.

Think of us as your ready-made “team in a box.” With creative technical leaders capable of understanding and fulfilling your projects’ needs, we can help build your product and take your business to the next level.

Technology today is competitive and complicated, but with your very own team of experts, you can stand out from those 32 million other companies, increase your bottom line, and bring in more customers than ever.

If you need help thinking outside the box, try thinking inside our box.

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Our Fractional CTOs are strategic, innovative team leaders. They’ll apply their technical knowledge and business strategy to help your company succeed.