Does your business have competition? Chances are that you do. Some more than others but most small businesses have some competition in one way or another. If your competition is better than you, you need to make some changes if you want to be number one. But even if you are number one, you need to continue to find ways to stand apart from your competition.
I recently came across a list of six (6) ways that your small business can stand apart from your competition. This is called your “differentiating factor” – the ways that you’re different (and hopefully better) than your competition. I like this quote from Entrepreneur’s website that says, “If you have no differentiator (and many startups don’t), invent one.” So … what makes you different?
- Product: If you sell a product, this is the easiest one. Your product is better than (insert competition) because it does this, this and that. Just keep in mind that this category is also the one that’s easily duplicated and can be short-lived. Once the competition catches on, they can do the same.
- Service: If you sell a service, how is it different than the competition? Are you faster? Is it easier to do business with you? Do you have some special training that makes you better?
- Distribution: What suppliers, distributors or retailers do you work with that helps separate you from your competition?
- Relationship: Everyone can state that they have awesome customer service. But how do you show this? One of the best ways is through reviews and testimonials.
- Image or Reputation: Your current customers have a lot to say about you. Along with the previous thought on relationships, get them to be your advocates and have THEM share with others what makes working or doing business with you awesome.
- Price: This one can go both ways. Some customers may choose you if they perceive that there is an added value in doing business with you – or they may choose you if your price is lower than your competitors.
Not all of the categories above will fit your business. Find one that does and determine 1 or 2 of your differentiating factors. Once you’ve discovered what they are, use them in your marketing efforts and share them on social media. Of course, you’ll also want to use these on your website. That’s where you can talk about (and show!) your customers how you’re different (and better!) than your competition.