I’ve been thinking about this idea of work as art. That what your business sells can be truly special.

Note, special does not mean visibly different, or cheaper or better. To me “special” means that you have put something of yourself into the business. That your time and effort have gone into it and that you believe in it.

When I buy my wife a gift, I don’t expect her to say “oh! I’ve never seen such a thing”. I do however hope that she sees it as special because I have bought it. It is special not because of what it is, but because of the story behind it.

We all know that as a business, you need to stand out from the crowd, otherwise you have no reason to exist. But often we are too literal in how we interpret this need for being different. You don’t need to make something that the customer has never seen, or to do something that no one else does. It would be nice, but it is rare for this to happen.

No, your difference can be your “specialness”. The fact that this offering has your stamp on it.

What makes your business, or product or service special? This is the story that lies behind what you do. It is ultimately what sets you apart. Your brand.

The problem with many entrepreneurs is that, to look like a big, established company, they consciously hide what makes them special. They try to act like a corporate and in the process become wallpaper. The story behind the business disappears.

Your business depends on your story to give it personality and to set it apart from every other similar offering – and there are bound to be many. You’d be well advised to add a liberal dose of your personal touch to how you market what you do. It is all about your brand. Don’t hide it!