While it’s important for companies to have competitors, it’s equally as important to set yourself apart from them. Standing out from your competition isn’t necessarily about snatching up all of the business. It’s about attracting the right people to your business. Since no two businesses are truly alike, it’s important to identify exactly what makes your business unique, so you can showcase it most effectively to your audience.
You’ll want to identify who your competitors are so that you can set yourself apart from them, but start with identifying what makes your business great before losing yourself to competitive analysis. Whether you realize it or not, you already have a lot to work with in terms of standing out.
The first source to go to to stand out from your competition is yourself. Make known your personality and values and let those seep into your marketing. Although marketing should be focused on your business and not your personal life, you can allow elements of your personality to shine through you as the voice of your business. Be warm, welcoming, friendly, helpful, funny—whatever qualities you possess. By letting the unique person you are shape the business you own, you humanize your business, and give it special attributes that will set it apart from its competitors.
In addition to helping your business to stand out from your competition, you may also attract people within your target audience who share similar values. These types of individuals have the potential to become brand evangelists, or to help you find your niche market.
As the owner of your business, you are the closest person to it, but that also means that you might not always be able to stand back and see it objectively. What might seem like a standard procedure or second nature to you might actually be something that stands out to others and is appreciated. To help uncover the unique characteristics that set you apart from your competition, talk to your customers. Ask them to identify which part of your business stands out most to them, why they choose you over competitors, or what they appreciate most.
Not only will this allow you to identify and harness your unique value, it will also help you to learn more about your target audience and engage with them as well. In fact, feedback-generating questions like these make great social media campaigns.
If you have a team of employees that help you run your business, be sure to utilize each of their unique personalities, stories, and talents to stand out above your competition. Your company culture will inject color into your organization and distinguish it from organizations that provide similar products or services. It will also foster the sense of familiarity and personal connection that leads people to trust a business.
You can get your business to stand out through your team by showcasing the people behind the processes, and the stories behind the service you provide. These make easy and effective social media post ideas that will grab the attention of your followers.
It’s less than ideal to be approached by a potential customer, only to find that your business is not a proper fit. However, these situations can be used to help you stand out from your competition! If a person has a need that you can’t meet but which another company can, refer them to that company, even if it’s a competitor. You’ll still stand out through your honesty and genuine desire to help the person get their needs met. These are the memorable experiences that lead people to tell others about your business and write online customer reviews, so don’t hold back!
To stand out from your competition, you don’t necessarily have to start a new movement or pioneer a group. You can utilize the movements and groups that are already formed in your community. Have an active role your community, whether by participating on a board, attending meetings, supporting a school, or volunteering regularly.
Local customers are important for small businesses, and the more opportunities you have to interact with them, the more you can nurture your relationships with existing and potential customers.
This is not to say that you should participate in activities just to get more customers. The idea is to stand out from your competition as a dedicated member of your community. This is especially important for small businesses with a niche marketing strategy, as your actions will show that you are truly committed to the specific values of those in your niche.
Leveraging your network to stand out above your competition is effective for two reasons: First, you are surrounding yourself with others who are already successful. Not only can you learn from them, they will likely be happy to help you with your efforts to succeed. Utilize the opportunity to learn from others who have been in your shoes before—collaboration can be more effective than competition.
Second, a network can help your business stand out because of the connections that are built. Chances are that your network isn’t just other business owners—it’s peers, partners, former coworkers, family, friends, and countless second- and third-degree connections too. Opportunities often come from the people you know, and the more people you know who know each other, the better and more plentiful those opportunities will be.
Leverage your network to stand out from your competition not just by growing it, but also by nurturing it: strengthen existing relationships, give back, and pay it forward when you can.
In your efforts to stand out above the competition, don’t overlook your existing strategies and processes. You don’t have to have an innovative or radical way of doing things. Plain transparency can do the trick. Do you still write ideas on napkins? Do you test products or ideas out on your family first? If your tried and true ways work for you, share them! You can stand out as a business that puts careful thought into its products, doesn’t sacrifice speed for quality, or stays loyal to a particular vendor or value.
Be transparent about borrowing ideas too! There is nothing wrong with adopting ideas from other companies (even competitors) and putting your own twist on it, as long as you give credit where it’s due. You may not stand out as the innovative one, but you’ll stand out as the honest company that celebrates others’ ideas and helps them to grow.
Perhaps the best part of using these resources is that not only do they help your business to stand out above the competition; the actions you take to achieve this offers just as many benefits for them too. It’s a win win!