Coming up with a completely original and unique business idea these days is hard. There are businesses out there for everything including super niche markets such as insect collection and preservation. Each year, roughly 500,000 new businesses are started in the US and even more are born worldwide which may cause concern for would-be entrepreneurs who don’t feel confident that they can make their business stand out.
No matter what business you want to start and run, making it stand out is key. With so many markets being so well-served, though, it can be daunting to try and figure out how to set your business apart without coming up with something completely original. There are things you can do and practices you can put into place, though, that will help your business stand out and even above the competition without requiring you do anything drastic or making any major changes to your business plan
1. Create a Unique Selling Proposition
A big part of standing out is having something unique to your business that none of your competition can offer. For example, if you run a drop shipping business, you may have a unique drop shipping procedure that is nothing like what your competitors have and is better in many ways. Highlighting that procedure and using it as part of your marketing efforts will help you stand out while letting your customers know what makes you unique and telling them why they should shop with you.
2. Go Above and Beyond with Your Customer Service
Customer service can make or break a company, but if you want to stand out then not only do you need to provide quality customer service, you need to go above and beyond. Customers often base their feelings and thoughts on a business on the way they are treated when they need any customer service, so training your staff to meet a standard above that of the competition and being willing to go out of your way a bit for your customers can help you better stand out. Even doing something as simple as including a thank you note in all orders, or offering discounts or coupons when something goes wrong, (without being asked), can turn around a customer’s opinion of your company and help you stand out.
3. Be Honest
Honesty is the best policy in your personal life or in business. Oddly enough, not a lot of businesses employ honesty and transparency and would rather sell and pitch to their clients than they would be open and honest with them. While you don’t need to send out a PSA listing the issues your product or company has, being honest in your marketing and messaging rather than trying to pitch customers fluff and convince them that you’re better will have more of an impact and set you apart.
4. Build a Sustainability/Social Responsibility Initiative
Sustainability and social responsibility are important to consumers. 75 percent of customers will consider a company’s sustainability and social responsibility when making a purchase. While several global companies have solid policies in place, not all businesses have prioritized or even adopted a sustainability/social responsibility policy at this point, making it a great way to set your business apart. Not only will a sustainability/responsibility initiative help you stand out, but it will enable you to have a more positive impact on your community and the environment in the process.
5. Offer Thanks, Incentives, and Guarantees
In addition to going above and beyond in your customer service, offering your customers thanks for their purchases, incentives to make more purchases, or become brand ambassadors through referral programs and guarantees on your products or services is a great way to set your business apart. If your competitors don’t offer free shipping, do what you can to make sure you do. If they rarely offer deals and sales, make sure you run promotions regularly. You’ll be able to stand out and draw in customers.
6. Ask for and Listen to Feedback
Feedback is a valuable tool that businesses often don’t take advantage of enough. Asking for feedback and listening to what your told and implementing changes based on suggestions is a great way to set yourself apart since your customers will know that you hear them and care about what they have to say. It’s important that you always listen to and make changes based on the feedback you receive, though; otherwise, you won’t be proving anything or stand out.
7. Give Your Brand a Unique Voice
Your brand is more than just your logo and your marketing materials; it’s the way that you communicate and interact with your customers, the way that you present yourself, and the way that your customers view you. Part of defining your brand is the voice you choose to use whether on social media, your website, or over the phone. Many companies use a very business and professional voice, so giving yourself a unique voice—perhaps a more friendly, neighborly one—is a great way to stand out. And you can do that without being unprofessional as well.
8. Offer Education
A lot of times a business will talk about their products or services and how great they are, but they won’t explain why. Or they’ll talk about how advanced their processes are but won’t explain how they work or how to go through them. Offering education on your company, your processes, and your products is a great way to set yourself apart. And you can take it even further by offering education on your industry, setting yourself up as a go-to source of information.
Standing out in today’s market can seem like a nearly impossible thing to do; however, despite the saturated market, there are plenty of ways that you can set your business apart and stand out. From doing things as simple as offering superior customer service and listening to feedback, to ensuring you have a unique selling proposition and offer education on all aspects of your business, you can set yourself apart from the competition and draw the attention that you want and need.
How else do you help your business stand out?