Starting a business, any business, is a fairly easy process. Anyone can get business cards printed and hand them out, but how do you stay in business? People have so many choices these days. There are so many different places to spend their hard earned cash. How can you make them pick your products/services? How can you make your business stand out from the rest?
Know your competitors
In order to stand out from the rest you need to know what the rest are doing; what they stand for; what they offer; how they are different to you.
Think about some of the big brand names in the marketplace, such as Virgin or MacDonald’s. How do they make sure they stand out from their competitors? What do they do differently?
Now, think about what makes you buy a particular brand over others. Try this small exercise….pick three brands that you buy regularly (could be a toothpaste, a skin care product, cleaning product, item of make-up). Why do you buy that particular brand over others? Is it simply because they’re cheaper? Is it because the latest advertising for that product encouraged you to try it? Or is it a brand you’ve always bought as you really like it? If this is the case, what makes you really like that brand?
Stand out from the rest
Once you know what your competitors are doing and why they stand out; once you’ve looked at some of the big brand names and what makes them different; and once you’ve looked at what you buy and why, you can look at your own products or services and see how you can make your brand proposition more appealing. If you have a particular target market, such as women over 40 for example, think about how you are going to get your products/services in front of that specific group. Where do this group go? What do they do? Could you advertise where you’ll know they’ll be….leave business cards and flyers?
What about your online presence? Do you have a good looking website, Facebook page or online shop? Is your brand attractive? Would it encourage someone to try your products? What would encourage you to buy your products or services? #
Seven areas to focus on
As I see it, there are seven main areas to focus on to make your business stand out from the crowd.
- Know what your customers want, and wherever possible, give it to them
- I’ve talked about this before in previous articles, but make your customers feel valued, care about them and give them a good experience every time they contact you – excellent customer service is a must in every business.
- Do something to entice people – a free first consultation, a free gift or trial – everyone likes a something for free!
- Set yourself up as an expert in your field – solve your customers’ problems
- Advertise – give out business cards, flyers or brochures. Advertise in free directories and pay for the odd ad in your local paper
- Be interesting and informative on your social media sites….NEVER be offensive. It can take years to build a good, loyal customer base and one wrong comment to tear it all down.
- Ask your existing customers for feedback…and use it to promote your business. Use the positive feedback on your website, your Facebook page – anywhere potential customers may be looking. And if you do get negative feedback…address it IMMEDIATELY!
At the end of the day, people have money to spend and just want to spend it. Generally, they don’t care how long you’ve been in business. They care about how your product or service is going to help them – it’s up to you to show them that you mean business! That YOU are the company to choose.
Images courtesy of 1) Mr GC 2) Master isolated images 3) Stuart Miles 4) stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net