Startups, whether you’re a tech company or a small business trying to make it in the service industry, needs to offer something different. I read an interesting article on SaaS startups a while ago stating that branding is essential because dozens of other people are offering the same thing.
Software is unique because new features can be pushed rapidly, helping a business expand fast.
But how does this concept work with other businesses? How does a business differentiate itself from the crowd?
1. Identify your Target Market and Dominate It.
Your target market is who you want to be promoting your business to now. You need to know who your customers are and their needs. And once you know this, you can do a lot of great things, like:
- Refine product offerings
- Enhance marketing efforts
- Brand your business
Branding should be the key focus here. You’ll want to identify your audience’s needs, pain points and where they’re searching for answers. Now, do your best to be everywhere at once. This means answering concerns and questions on publications and social media.
If you’re everywhere at once, you’ll learn to dominate your niche, build your brand and gain trust.
2. Offer Something Unique or Better Than the Competition.
Offer something that others don’t. Now, this may seem “normal,” but how can you do this in an industry like plumbing? Everyone is doing something similar, but there are opportunities to be different.
- Advanced technology. When new methods or techniques are developed, jump on it and offer it. Trenchless sewer repair, for example, offers a quick, non-intrusive way to repair pipes that is more effective.
- Customer service. Offer the best customer service in the industry and be rewarded for it. This might mean follow-up calls, or keeping a client in-the-loop about their problem or your service technician’s location.
- Incentives. You can offer incentives for using your service. Starbucks does this through their Starbucks Rewards program. Offer a reason for customers to come back and reward them in the process.
If you try to be unique and better than the competition in any industry, you’ll find that customers will appreciate your approach. Even when you can’t offer a different service, you can always offer a different experience.
3. Be Honest and Open.
Imagine if your local contractor was honest about how long it was going to take to put an addition on your home or finish your basement. The world is filled with deadlines, and using general contractors as an example is perfect.
Contractors may not adhere to general practices:
No one wants to wait an extra month or two to have their job done because a contractor disappeared for two weeks without notice. The way to overcome these “hiccups” in your business is to be honest with your customers and clients.
Contractors wouldn’t have such a bad reputation if they were:
- Honest about deadlines
- Never missed an appointment
- Kept customers in the loop
If your business makes a mistake, be honest and open about it. Honesty and transparency can go a long way in helping your business stand out from the crowd.