Business planning – the element of non-conformity

Non-conformity; be different

As I said in my last business planning post, there are two distinctive traits that work strongly in the favour of the everyday entrepreneur.  These are:

  • Previous experience; and
  • Non-conformity

Non-conformity is the desire to break from the pack to be different – thinking different and acting different.  Now that takes courage, because most of us have spent our entire lives doing our very best to conform so that we didn’t attract the negative attention of bullies, the law, our teachers or dissenting family and friends.

Think about your many long and perhaps painful years in school.  It was all about conformity, in terms of learning, performance, presentation and behaviour.  It didn’t always pay to be different; and that still holds true!

Entrepreneurs emerge through the innovative application of the very same knowledge that everyone accumulates; sometimes less.  As far as business principles go, there is nothing new under the Sun.  But in terms of business application there is plenty new; so much so, it is hard to keep up.

Entrepreneurs may have learned the same way as you or I did, but they apply knowledge differently to satisfy the needs of a wider audience.   They also have the courage and determination to put their innovative thoughts into action, and to ignore their detractors.

Of course the flip-side of the same argument explains why there are so few entrepreneurs in relation to the wider population.  Simply put, we are trained not to be!

Society is structured around conformity.  It is much easier to conform than not.  Non-conformity means having to rebel and mentally break out of lifelong habits; to swim against the tide.  That is really hard to do!

Conformity generally attracts praise, mostly because it reinforces in others that the safe decisions they have made in their own lives are indeed the right ones.  Non-conformity makes others feel uncomfortable and ill at ease with their own choices.  Hence, it attracts jealousy, skepticism and criticism.  For those who become successful, there awaits the mother lode of negativity – the ‘tall poppy’ syndrome.

I will continue on the subject of non-conformity in my next business planning blog.  Check out my other blog at

Until next time!