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Differentiate From Your Competitors

As business advisors, one of the biggest challenges that we see small and medium-sized business struggling with is how to differentiate their offering and stand out from the competition.

You might have in mind an ideal client or customer and have a clear idea how you can reach them. The next key question is why they should choose your business. What is different about your product or service that they can’t get from other companies in the same market?

We are often too close to the business and focussed on the day to day tasks that keep it running. It’s likely that you have faith in the quality of your product or service but in order to grow and attract new customers, it’s vital to challenge yourself, step back, and look at the bigger picture. It can be confronting, but imagine a prospective customer were to ask what makes you different from all the other options they have to choose from. Would you be able to answer confidently? Could you tell them why you are the best choice to solve their problems and show you understand their needs? Could you describe any special quality that makes your business the number one choice for them?

Step back and look

Whatever business you’re in, it’s very likely that there will be other companies offering similar products or services at around the same price point. This ‘special quality’ or unique selling proposition (USP) is the secret to creating differentiation between your business and your competitors. It speaks to what your ideal clients really want and they should be able to quickly see how you can deliver it better than anyone else.

This might take some careful thought, research and trials to discover what works for you and your customers, but in a crowded marketplace full of virtually identical businesses, finding your USP is what will set you apart from the pack. Firstly, you can think about what it is you do well. Be careful not to underestimate anything you just see as a standard part of the job – that might still be exactly what people are looking for. Ask yourself:

  • Why do your long-term clients stay with you?
  • What do they value about your product or service?
  • What positive feedback have you received from clients? What did they like?

Taking the time to answer these questions can help you understand what you do best and exploit it. Here are just a few examples of ways you might be able to differentiate your business.

Specialise and narrow your target market

Specialise and narrow your target market

By specialising and promoting yourself in a particular niche you can present yourself as the go-to business for those specific needs, instead of an ‘also-ran’ business who will turn their hand to anything. Being the best at providing solutions to more specific needs is one way to stand out from the competition.

Become known as the expert in your field

You can build a reputation as the expert in your field by showing off your knowledge and expertise in blog posts, videos and marketing collateral. Not only will this drive people towards your business when they are searching for help, but they will want to work with the experts who have already shown they can help solve their problem.

Focus on excellent customer service

Focus on excellent customer service

If there are lots of other businesses offering the same products or services at the same price point, you could differentiate yourself by making your business a pleasure for people to deal with. From initial contact to quoting, delivery and after-sale communications, if you can leave your customers feeling valued and cared for you’ll be ahead of competitors who don’t make the effort to engage their customers.

Solve a problem

Why not actively ask your existing or potential customers about the common problems they face? That might mean that, while your product or service is similar to your competitors, you respond to client needs by delivering it faster or to suit their schedule rather than your own, it might be that you provide better guidance, training or support. You might be surprised at gripes customers have and, if you can find a way to solve the problems that make their lives difficult, your business will stand out from the crowd.

Solve a problem

These are only examples and you will need to go through the process of determining your own strengths and what you can do differently that would be valuable to your target clients. Remember though, that the potential rewards are huge if you are able to define and effectively communicate your unique difference in a way that will get you noticed above your competitors.

You don’t have to do this alone and a business advisor can help you find your unique difference that will make customers want to work with you. Contact us today to find out how you can stand out from the competition!

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