By Dan George

A nation of shopkeepers, that’s what Napoleon called us.

But times have changed. Tech City’s latest annual Tech Nation report paints the picture of a nation of savvy digital entrepreneurs. And while I guess that wouldn’t make for a particularly punchy slogan, the report makes a strong case.

It’s hard to argue with 1.56 million jobs, created at almost three times the rate of the rest of the economy. Nor with £161 billion in turnover – growing 32 per cent quicker than the economy as a whole.

This isn’t just a London thing either. There are now 27 tech clusters across the UK. Business is truly booming and this can only be a good thing.

And these clusters are great places to set up shop. Access to local networks, talent and business support make it easy for businesses to get started, reinvigorating the likes of Norwich, Leicester and Truro.

There’s just one problem for tech start-ups – the market may be bigger, but it’s also more crowded than ever before. It’s not easy to stand out – just ask this panda!

So, the billion dollar question: how does a new brand stand out a little better than a panda in a sea of stormtroopers?

Ask any marketer in the last year or so and they’ll tell you that purpose is key. And of course we already know that people prefer to do business with the good guys. But when you look at all the firms talking about their missions, how many do you really believe?

And that’s the point. If you want people to truly feel that you’re different, you need to prove it. Don’t just tell people your purpose, show them by living by it. Go out and do things the way you think they should be done, not the way other people say they should. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

It’s a bold move, but someone’s got to make it. If you don’t, you might find yourself looking a little too much like the competition.

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