How To Differentiate Your Small Business From The Competition And Stand Out From The Crowd
The most successful businesses started with a unique value proposition that helped them differentiate their company amongst the competition. In a world where competition is fierce, it's difficult to distinguish and build your own business brand identity. Companies that can differentiate themselves inside their industry find it easier to develop a brand identity and to establish a base of customers. For small and mid-sized businesses competing against major corporations with significant market share, differentiation is one of the main challenges small businesses face.
Netflix was successful because it had a key differentiator with Blockbuster—it didn’t have late fees. Apple’s key differentiator was the design and functionality of its products, the seamless experience, and ease of use. Without crucial differentiators, even behemoths such as Netflix and Apple might not have made it out of the incubator stage. Learning what separates your company from the crowd is an underrated, yet invaluable part of business success. Let’s take a closer look at how your small business can determine its differentiators and stand out from the crowd.
Determining Your Company’s Unique Quality
How can you determine your company’s unique selling proposition (USP)? There are a number of key differentiators, and you’ll need to consider which category your business falls in. There is convenience—and while it is the simplest differentiator, it is also one of the most powerful. Countless companies utilize the concept of being more convenient than the competition. Convenience is something that customers are often willing to pay more for.
Another key differentiator is reliability. Does your product rarely fail, if ever? Product reliability has been a critical differentiator for certain auto manufacturers, who advertise their vehicle as less likely to need costly repairs.
Perhaps your key differentiator is quality. Your product or service has the look and feel of a luxury brand that provides a superior experience. Maybe your key differentiator is the brand experience that you produce. Your product or service evokes a specific emotion and feeling, and your customers feel as if they are building a relationship with your brand. Many local restaurants and main street stores focus on how their customers feel. If they have even one bad experience that remains unresolved, they will write off your brand. Also, negative feedback spreads like wildfire through social media and word of mouth. You need to be on top of your game to improve the customer experience, sometimes by going far out of your way. Customers prefer businesses that own up to their mistakes and take steps to correct them. Customer relationship can be stronger after a problem than before if handled correctly by your staff.
A related differentiator is customer service. Offering impeccable customer service that gives your customers peace of mind is invaluable, especially in a world where many customers feel invisible when trying to resolve conflicts with major brands. All customers expect exceptional service and will not put up with waiting in long lines or receiving poor responses from representatives. They also hope you to treat them like royalty, even if you are not in the service industry.
Then there is the price. Having a cheaper product or service than the competition—without sacrificing quality—can be a strong draw.
Determining what sets your company apart also requires your business to do some research. You’ll need to see what your competitors are doing, and you’ll need to understand their strengths and weaknesses. You’ll have to understand your own customer experience, and how they feel after using your product or service. A good exercise is to write down your company benefits to better understand why a customer would use your service over your competition.
It Is Important To Continuously Evaluate Your Business Model
Your company isn’t going to be competing in the same environment forever. Your competitors are going to change over time, and so are your products and services. Your customer base might evolve and change too. That is why it is critical for you to continuously evaluate your business model, delivery system, your costs, and the value that you are bringing to your clients. Performing strategic evaluations allows your company to test whether your current strategies are delivering the maximum amount of value to the business. Evaluations can help your business to determine if you need to change course on certain strategies. Make sure you don't completely ignore your business weaknesses - competitors won't. Other companies capitalize on the cracks you overlook and draw away customers who aren't satisfied. You should be using the same strategy to win more business and downplay shortcomings. Find out what your competitors aren't doing well, and enhance your business in those areas. Alternatively, coming up with something new also allows you to reinvent your company by adopting emerging technologies and introducing new processes, products, and solutions. For example, you might want to make use of social media and mobile apps as a growing number of buyers prefer to find and work with your company through their phones. In 2019, Millennials will surpass baby boomers as the largest living generation in the United States.
Don’t Just Get Repeat Customers—Turn Them Into Brand Evangelists
You don’t just want to expand your customer base. You want your customers to be passionate about your products and services. You want them to be brand evangelists. Brand evangelists display the kind of enthusiasm and brand loyalty that help your business to experience rapid growth into new segments and demographics. You can figure out how to turn your customers into brand evangelists by figuring out what they truly love. Go on social media—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and see what is really getting your customers excited about your products and services. Once you figure out what your customers love, think about how you can maintain and expand that aspect of your business.
Putting An Emphasis On Customer Service
One of the quickest ways for a company to lose market share is to put little to no effort into customer service. Your customers want to feel valued, and they want to feel like they are building a relationship with your brand. Some companies fall into the trap of focusing all of their efforts on one or two single clients. If these clients decide to go in a different direction, the company finds that they’ve lost 50 percent or more of their business overnight. Focus on providing comprehensive customer service to all of your clients, so that you can expand your customer base and build strong relationships that lead to repeat business.
Working At Both The Local And National Levels
The most successful companies must operate at both the local and national levels. For many young companies, this can be a tricky proposition. A solution is to think local. What is the specific demographic that you are marketing towards? How does this demographic differ across geographic lines? For example, if you are a maternal clothing company, you might find that expecting mothers in the Southeast United States have different purchasing habits than expecting mothers on the west coast.
You might also want to consider partnering with like-minded businesses. By identifying the right partners for your unique business that caters to the same target market you do, then work together to support each other in gaining visibility and sales among each other's customers both locally and nationally. To maximize your efforts, aim to create a more long-term partnership versus one-time experience.
Being a national brand still means that you have to operate and meet your customers’ needs on the local level.
Securing The Funding Necessary To Achieve Your Company Goals
Business owners have all heard the statistics about the percentages of businesses that fail. However, it is still important to recognize why businesses don’t reach success so that you can avoid those potential pitfalls. We’ve already talked extensively about differentiation, and how failing to separate your business from the crowd can lead to stagnation. However, it is critical to recognize that a lack of cash flow can also have the same effect. Even if you identify the right differentiators and establish a robust plan for expanding your customer base, you need the working capital to be able to act. Without small business funding, your company can still fail even if you did everything else right. That is why many small businesses take out small business loans. For example, let’s imagine that your company has a powerful concept, a key differentiator from the competition, and a burgeoning customer base. However, at the moment, your company isn’t making enough money each month to support this new concept. If your company gets the additional working capital, it needs to handle its increase day-to-day operations you’ll be able to implement this new concept. However, without an injection of capital, your business could fail by not taking action. This is a scenario that many companies find themselves in, across different industries. Restaurants, auto repair companies, retailer, manufacturers, and even private physicians all face these challenges. The companies with a key differentiator that can also obtain funding are much more likely to succeed in the long term.
Separating your business from the competition isn’t always an easy task. Successful brands have demonstrated that by doing it during their early stages and continuing this process each year keeps them thriving. A company with a critical differentiator and the right amount of funding is much more likely to succeed in the long run. It is essential to determine your company’s key differentiator early on so that you can focus on enhancing and growing your business around it. Having the right level of funding makes that possible—which is why so many companies look at funding options as soon as they’ve determined their differentiator and the feasibility of their product or service. Make sure that you are putting your business in a position to succeed by focusing on how to stand out, and getting the right amount of funding necessary to do so.
At PayPoint funding, we understand that small businesses need the right amount of cash flow to keep their options open so your business is in a position to succeed. This is why we provide small business funding to businesses across a variety of sectors across the United States.
We also understand that when business owners need financing, they need it now, not weeks or months from now. We have made our application process as simple as possible, with a minimum amount of paperwork and documentation required. You would not need to spend weeks gathering the necessary information. Instead, our funding specialist spends time with you learning about your unique company and visions for the future.
Contact us today at 877.227.7760 and see if you qualify for fast, flexible working capital funding from PayPoint Funding. To apply online, use our no-obligation free quote form. We provide efficient small business funding solutions designed to meet your
specific business needs, with competitive pricing, no hidden fees, and much more.