We live in a world where everyone is claiming to be the ‘best’ in the business. How many times have you seen a coffee shop claim they have ‘the best coffee in town’. But if you also found ‘the best coffee in town’ down the road – then who really is ‘the best’? Sure competition is ‘healthy’, but not so much for startups…
What makes you different from others? Unless your business is providing something insanely unique, and let’s face it, you probably haven’t got a spaceship that travels the speed of light in your garage – it’s safe to say you’ve got some form of competition lurking. You’re going to have to find a different approach to stand out from the crowd and add value to your business. It’s difficult, but not impossible.
Here we’ll look at 5 ways to make your business stand out from your competition, no matter your industry.
How to find your business competitors
First things first, the best way to make your business truly stand out is to know your competitors inside-out and more importantly, how they work. So, how do you find your business competitors? And better yet, how do you get more information about them?
Go one step further than Google
Research always starts with Google, but you can take it one step further than that.
- Sign up to Google Trends to see the latest things going on in your industry
- Use Google Alerts to see what your competitors are up to, and go ahead and make an alert for your own company to see if anyone else is talking about you! You can also use similarweb to see where their online traffic is coming from (if you’re looking at a company with a website – which most should have nowadays).
- Play the customer – when it comes to finding out how your customer’s role, try to play the customer. Make an order, try their service and see how the process works, noting down what you did and didn’t like about it. You could even try the old-school tactic of simply calling them up and asking for information (you’d be surprised what you can learn!).
Get your spy glasses on and get reporting. Be sure to track what industry analyst firms such as Gartner are reporting when it comes to your specific industry.
Use social networks to the max
Companies and small businesses are increasingly realizing the power of social media for marketing. Use hashtags to find competitors and monitor their actions and reviews.
Ask your customers
Don’t skip over this obvious one! Asking your customers is one of the best ways to cut to the chase and get really valuable information. Ask your customers why they chose you over x company, or why they prefer x company. Gathering lots of information in this way will give you an idea of where your competitors are doing better (or worse) and you can adjust your service/product accordingly.
5 ways to make your business stand out
Now you know a bit about finding and getting to know your competition we’re going to take you through exactly how to make your business stand out.
1. Provide a ridiculously good customer experience
Lending Express’s CEO Eden Amirav provided first-hand advice on how to stand out from a direct competitor – he believes that it all lies in the customer’s experience.
“Businesses should go above and beyond to make their customers’ user-journey as easy and enjoyable as possible, they should be made to feel special so that they leave with a positive experience to remember you by.”
At Lending Express, this involves making sure that the business loan application is as quick and simple as possible, and that customers are given special attention from their account managers, who do everything in their power to find a business funding solution that suits them. Keep in mind that customer support and experience are two different sides of the very same coin and the two should work together to provide the ultimate customer experience.
This is important for all businesses, even those that aren’t in the service industry. When you’ve got research finding that 76% of customers state that they consider customer service a true test of a company’s competence, you know it’s not to be taken lightly. Amirav goes onto explain that a customer’s experience is highly important “especially in the start-up phase of a company”, where a business is carving its path and building up its reputation. “Never underestimate the power of loyalty”. Touché!
2. Find your unique touch
What makes your business unique? It’s easy to say ‘be unique’ but a whole other playing field to actually accomplish ‘uniqueness’. Even if your company is just another hair salon, restaurant or whatever the business is, there are plenty of ways to make your company more unique.
Continue to brainstorm about new products or services you could offer – ask your employees to contribute, your friends, why not even your next door neighbor? You’d be surprised at how much information your average Joe is holding!
For example, you could make your ‘ordinary hair salon’ more technology friendly by introducing an app or a more user-friendly website to attract more customers – see point number 4 below for more that.
3. Listen to your customers and admit when you’re wrong
We’ve learned that customers equate their experiences with brands, unfortunately, one bad experience can knock off 100’s of positive ones – that’s just the way the cookie crumbles, but what you do about that? Rather than denying your mistakes ever happened, or ignoring your customer’s complaints, learn to attack them head on and better yet, make them work to your advantage.
With negative feedback spreading like wildfire on social media, whether your fault or not, reach out to that customer and go above and beyond to solve their issue. You may even find that your customer relationships are even stronger after a negative comment has been resolved.
Remember, people admire honesty.
Add a dash, or splash of honesty into your business and you’ll be on the yellow brick road to giving your business a positive brand-image and reputation.
ALL comments on social media are important to respond to, well not all of them, swearing and wholly inappropriate comments are an exception.
4. Get online
Having a strong online presence will, of course, depend on the field and industry you work in. But, in 99% of cases, having a strong online presence is highly important and the perfect way to set yourself apart from your competitors.
Getting your business online is something very important especially when you realize that there were around 1.8 billion (yes, billion) digital buyers in 2018 and that number is set to rise and rise.
Number of digital buyers worldwide from 2014 to 2021 (in billions) according to Statista
If you don’t have a website, get one – yesterday please!
Having a well functioning, clean website will add a massive advantage over your competitors. Add social media, daily posting, and marketing campaigns and you’ve just hit a winning combination to attract more customers, build up your reputation and make your business stand out.
If you’re looking to boost your marketing and expand your business, make sure you’re equipped with a tailored business loan to suit your needs.
5. Create irresistible offers
Guarantees and offers are a great way to remove that hesitation that often hits before buying a product or service. Take it away with an irresistible offer or guarantee. But just make sure, if you guarantee something, that you 100% will pull through.
For example, if an e-commerce company is shipping a product, can you give a longer warranty? Maybe offer a longer time for swapping the product? Or a great discount for the holiday season? Maybe you could guarantee that all emails will be responded to within 24 hours? There are many elements you can play with here, so get creative!
At the end of the day, there are plenty of ways to make your business stand out from your competition. As long as you always strive to be better than before – you’ll be on your way to beating your competition.
So what makes you different from others?