Standing out in the crowd
By Emma Sturgis
Businesses need to be different in order to succeed. No one will really pay attention to a business which offers the same services or products as another company. Breaking out of the look-alike mold requires you to take some unique steps, such as the following:
Choose to Be Competitive
It is not enough to just go through the daily motions of having a business. Many business owners do little more than exist from day to day, but a successful business owner will be determined to get ahead. Develop the attitude that you will get ahead—and stay ahead of your competition. This requires:
- Studying them
- Finding their strengths
- Duplicating what works
- Examining their marketing strategy
- And doing more than they do.
Being unique may also mean focusing on a niche market, rather than a more general one. If you have a small store it would be hard to compete with Walmart. Instead, develop a product line that the big stores do not currently offer.
Create a Unique Selling Position
Before you can become a serious competitor, you need to find a unique position or platform to do it from. Choices include making a unique feature on your products or service, better customer service, or offering a better price. Make yourself unique and build a brand that sets you apart—your unique selling position.
Remember that merely having the lowest price will not guarantee your success. Foreign markets may be able to undersell, but doing things differently than your competitors may enable you to compete in those fields. While Japan started selling the cheapest electronic products on the market, they discovered that change can be good, and made the switch to the best products on the market.
Treat Your Customers Better
Make your customers feel like you really appreciate them. Get them to sign up for special offers and send out newsletters that offer them some special deals that no one else can get. Be careful to talk with them in your communications, and not merely at them. They can tell the difference. Be encouraging and respectful of them, and send out good information with your emails, and not merely sales advertisements. You’ve heard it said often that it is easier to keep customers you already have than trying to find new ones.
Use Customized Software
Instead of using typical software for your records and data, customized software can enable your business to become more productive. Because it is customized, it will work with your other applications, and you can be sure that it’s the right fit for your business. Custom software builders, like Cogitech Solutions, specialize in building scalable and maintainable software which best meets the needs of small businesses. This software can also help maintain your business’ relationship with customers by providing a user-friendly way for them to gain access to and use your services.
Getting into the mainstream of your competition can be done but it will not happen overnight. A carefully developed plan, however, can take you miles from where you are now, and eventually put you in the lead.
Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer based in Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and small business. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2.