Business owners and entrepreneurs typically are not very good at differentiating themselves from the competition. Differentiating from the competition means separating yourself, making your business stand out or appeal to the marketplace. The whole point of differentiation is to cut through the noise that exists in the marketplace, catch people’s attention, and attract the type of customer that you want to work with.
There are many ways to differentiate yourself from your competition, but I decided to start with three main ways to differentiate your business from your competitors.
Enjoy & comment at the end!
1. Target Demographic
One way to differentiate yourself from your competition is to focus your business and marketing efforts on a specific demographic. You can differentiate yourself by choosing an age-group, gender, race, or religion that your competitors are not targeting.
If you are a IT consultant and you happen to also be fluent in a foreign language, become THE IT Consultant for (insert foreign language) speaking business owners. For example, you could be an IT consultant for Spanish-speaking business owners. This immediately differentiates your business from all the other IT consultants and makes you more attractive to business owners that speak Spanish.
What demographic of people can you begin to build your business around?
2. Target Industry
Another way to separate your business from the competition is to focus on a specific industry. Let’s say that you were a dental assistant for 15 years but your true passion is really marketing. You end up quitting your dental assistant job to start a social media marketing company.
Rather than becoming ANOTHER social media expert, differentiate yourself by becoming THE social media expert for dental practices. You already know the dental business inside and out and can use your 15 years of experience working in the industry as massive credibility.
You may not be super excited about working with dentists, I mean after-all you did quit your dental job, but at least it’s something you know like the back of your hand. You are much more likely to generate revenue quickly in an industry you already know and have experience in. As soon as you land a handful of solid clients, you can begin to expand to other areas. At that point you can focus on the clients that you really want to work with and hire or contract team members to do the work that you don’t like to do!
3. Value / Offering
A simple way to differentiate yourself from your competitors is to offer different or better products and services. Adding more value by bundling products and services is one way to potentially attract more business from your competition. Also, specializing in a specific area that is different than your competitors is a way to differentiate yourself too.
The key component of value and offer differentiation is communicating it to your target market. They need to be aware of the difference and believe it to be true in order for it to influence their buying decision.
You must be able to create a sustainable business model around the difference in value as well. The reason why deal sites like Groupon and Living Social aren’t good for businesses long-term is because it’s not a sustainable value model. People buy your businesses’ Groupon because it’s a good deal and they never come back because one of your competitors will be running a Groupon campaign next month and people will go there.
Momentary bursts of increased value create momentary bursts of business. Long-term sustained value drives, long-term sustained business.
What are some ways that you can increase the value of your offering? What do your customers value in relation to your skills, expertise, product or service?
What are your thoughts?
I’m curious to hear what your viewpoint is on this topic. Have you found creative ways to differentiate yourself from your competition? Did any of the ideas that I shared with you resonate?
Let me know your thoughts by commenting below!
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