With a poor economy, setting your business apart from the competition is more important than ever. However, amidst the hundreds of other companies vying for a slice of the proverbial pie, it can be difficult to distinguish yourself from the masses. Here are six tips you can apply to set yourself apart from the competition, cut yourself a healthy portion of the pie and enjoy the sweet taste of success.
1. Embrace Technology
We live in a technological age where a new gadget, app, or Internet sensation trends every day. What does this have to do with your business? Well, everything. Whether you apply new technologies to your operating systems, or adopt the latest social media outlets, technology is pervasive in our society, so if you want to succeed, you need to embrace it and master it.
For example, plenty of businesses have recognized the importance of technology, particularly in the social media and mobile spheres; however, far fewer have been able to successfully harness that power and use it to their greatest advantage. It is not enough to simply create a Facebook page or blog. The key to setting yourself apart is developing those outlets to provide quality content and a recognizable brand personality.
You may think that a vibrant R&D department is best left to the big corporations who have millions to throw into funding innovations. However, whether your business is big or small, innovation is one of the best ways to set your business apart. When you take the time (and yes, even the money) to work on innovating new systems, technologies, and modus operandi MOs, you will set yourself up to succeed.
Those who innovate in business will immediately put themselves ahead and apart from the competition as they implement new ideas and ways of doing business. Even if you are a small business, and have a small budget, don’t ignore the importance of innovation and the consequences it has for distinguishing your company from the rest.
3. Improve on the Competition
Setting your business apart doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes it is as simple as looking at your competition for inspiration. Do your research. Know your competitors and evaluate their business practices.
What are they doing well? Where are they falling short? What things are they doing that you could or should be doing? Is there anything you can improve on? Further, consider how customers respond to them. Observe what campaigns and strategies attract your target customers and look for ways to replicate that success. Put yourself in the mind of the consumer. When you answer these questions, you will have the knowledge and tools you need to not only match your competitors, but exceed them.
4. Engage with your market
People relate to people—not businesses. That is why it is so important to connect and engage with your market and customers. Put a face to your name. Give your brand a personality. Interact with your customers through social media, mobile technology, and community events.
For example, be active on your social media accounts. Regularly update your statuses, respond to comments from your audience, and publish fun, engaging articles, photos, and videos. On your website, you could publish an interactive About Page with photos of your staff members hard at work at their desks. Then, when one hovers over their picture, it switches to a fun pose (e.g. waving, making a silly face, etc.).
Genius (and success) is in the details. Use them to your advantage. Make an impact and show your customers you are not just another business. When you do that, you will distinguish your company as a business to be trusted and valued.
5. Become an expert in your field
As a business, you are competing with dozens of other companies for your slice of the market. You have done everything right. You’ve created a website, you bought print and online advertisements, and you even sponsored a charity event in the community. So what else is there?
While these are all important steps to building your brand and establishing your company, they do not necessarily identify you as an expert in the field. What do I mean by that? Well, people want to do business with those they trust. Trust can be built in numerous ways, but one of the most important ways to do that today is through your online presence.
Develop a company blog where you provide quality content that relates to your field (not necessarily your business specifically). As you post regularly and offer content that is interesting, informative, and valuable to your customers, you will assert yourself as an authority in your market, and gain the trust of current and potential customers.
6. Specialize then Diversify
We often hear the mantra, “Diversify to build your business.” However, while diversification is certainly a valuable component of long-term success, we should not ignore the equally important factor, specialization. Before a company can expand its brand, it should focus it first.
The best companies tend to be those that rely on what they do best. This typically means remembering your roots as a business. Where did you start? What product or service are you best known for? Play to your strengths and don’t be afraid to specialize.
You should certainly be open to changes, developments, and of course, innovations; but when you specialize in one area, you are better equipped to master that niche and provide your customers with a higher quality product. When you do that, your product will speak for itself, and set you apart as a trusted and quality business.
Author Bio – Jake Magleby has written extensively about effective marketing, sales, and financing strategies to help small business owners succeed in the fast-paced and ever-changing business world. He finds inspiration from other successful business leaders like Rick E. Schaden