The Top Things To Set Your Business Apart From The Competition - Answers From Real Entrepreneurs
Starting a business can take many forms, and not every way is best for every entrepreneur/industry/situation. We've gathered together an ever-growing list of entrepreneurs, and they have agreed to share the top things they do to set their business apart from competition.
Be Ready to Pivot
Jenna Zeng - StaffNet
"We come from a unique perspective of trying to be of service first and financial gain last. We had not intended to launch StaffNet to the market and had created it with the intent to help only our business at the time. Since launching, we've always kept this mentality of being of service and it's created our USP - we're the first flat rate scheduling software & app! We also have since created a community to serve small businesses and we share our knowledge through consulting with small businesses that reach out."
Create A Niche
Mike Mogan - e Beach Wagon
"We are lucky that we only have one competitor and they are not doing a lot of marketing. We are marketing our product through all the social media platforms, YouTube, Google, and getting the word out through every outlet that will share our story. We are also working on an affiliate program that will help people who purchase our wagon make money on leads they provide that convert to sales. It's like having a sales force across the country without paying them a salary. Our product is very noticeable on the beach, so we want to incentivize our customers to help spread the word for us while they are using their wagon."
Engage Your Customers
Matt Soriano - One Bottle Hydration
"I've really tried to engage my customers with my process of development and improvement of the One Bottle Hydration lines. I am totally open to them about where I'm failing and where I'm working on improvement, and I am very liberal with sending out upgraded product and/or accessories. It doesn't make sense to nickel-and-dime people who had great hopes for a new product and now they've been in the mountains and it's not working. This encourages them to share their experiences and help me improve, plus they are slightly more forgiving of my mistakes."
Take the Time
Lauren Colson - Colson Strategies
"When we start with a client, we take time upfront to really learn their business and workflows before we start any work. This is an investment of their time, but it truly pays off. This helps us to know what to look for and think strategically!"
Saul Sutton - Lets Scale
"We ensure we truly understand our clients objectives and develop custom strategies. Also give them access to a highly talented group of individuals they wouldn’t be able to find traditionally."
Be Easy To Work With
Aaron Weiche - Leadferno
"My golden rule in business is be easy to work with. Businesses that make the experience easy are the ones that earn repeat business, customers that refer them and 5 star reviews. Focus on being easy to work with, even if it's hard on you."
Picking a Brand that Resonates
Rishabh Jain - Fermat Commerce
"One of the main strategies we employee is picking a brand identity that resonates better with our stakeholders, vs just showing up as yet another tech platform."
Be Curious and Empathetic
Sean Baxter - Misfit
"Be curious and empathetic! Getting caught up in pitching a service or making a sale to anyone who will listen or buy is easy. What separates the best businesses that stand the test of time from others that fade away or don't make an impact is curiosity. Child-like wonder about people, their needs, their environment, and their hopes is the tenacious curiosity that drives empathy. Understanding and sharing the feeling of others unlock our limitations and propels us toward action. We move from selfish to altruistic motives with the passion for improving the lives of us all."
Learn From Other Industries
Paul Daniels - Paul Daniels Jr.
"I apply lessons, approaches, and proven solutions from unrelated industries to differentiate my business from others. If a baker in Bulgaria has an excellent way of creating loyal customers, I’ll use it. Conventional wisdom and industry best practices are often defined by that industry’s leaders and subject matter experts. While these are well-intentioned, they can be from narrow perspectives. I prefer to overtly question conventions and offer new perspectives. Think of it this way… If everyone is following best practices, where’s your differentiation? At what point do best practices reinforce the well-intentioned but narrow perspectives of conventional wisdom?"
Give Everything Away
Amanda Gwin - Amanda Gwin Coaching
"I give away a lot of content, education, and lessons completely free. No strings attached. My theory is that my clients will love what they are getting for free, and be curious what a paid client will get since a non-paying client gets so much already. I believe in abundance in all areas of life. Living in a complete abundance mindset, leads to abundance in your business. Additionally, Building genuine relationships are extremely important to developing trust. People do not spend money where they do not trust that their money is being used for their benefit."
Network to Raise Awareness
Mariam Ispahani - Sonali Bioplastics
"Networking is our focus and our asset. This strategy creates awareness about climate matters, helps us address the problems, and we learn from others in and outside the climate space about their challenges."
Partner With Other Businesses
Trista McIntsoh - Concierge Chicks
"Partnering with other amazing businesses that service similar clientele to provide an elevated experience for Nashville visitors and locals wanting to celebrate any occasion."
Be Better Today Than Yesterday
Kenneth Barrios -Key Bravo Coaches
"Top strategy we use that sets us a part from any competition is that we don’t measure a client’s results, milestones, or achievements. We focus on being better today than yesterday and setting up tomorrow to be better than today. We are here for the long game and desire to build deep meaningful relationships with everyone are in contact with. Being better over achieving more and relationships over money."
Quality and Affordability
Paul Xavier - Paul Xavier International LLC
"The strategy we learned that has helped us grow our companies the most is deliver the highest quality product at the most affordable (yet profitable) cost. With tens of thousands of clients across the globe we have consistently gained more clients than our competition by ruthlessly cutting costs, streamlining operations and passing on those savings to our clients."
David Nazaire - Ride Goat
"Be personable and real with people. The one thing that has helped us be successfull with gaining new markets and operators has been being personable and real with the people wanting to start. People can tell if you are being genuine and as long as you are and keep to your word you can make it far."
Dominate One Market At A Time
Kat Sparkman - iLLASPARKZ
"It is an entire Mall full of Jewelry and Accessories. Others have some Jewelry, meanwhile we have thousands of various selections to pick from. The plan is to dominate the industry, country by country."
What Will It Take?
Cary Prejean - Strategic Business Advisors
"The main question I use to work with business owners is 'what will it take to satisfy you with 1) your current business and 2) the direction it's headed in?' The process of becoming clear on exacting details what will satisfy the owner now and into the future puts the conditions of satisfaction in clear writing and actionable steps or goals. It becomes the blueprint of designing the business. Much more effective than vague dreams of #1 in my market, best in class, very profitable, great cash flow, debt free, etc."
Offer The Right Incentives
Kartik Raghuram - Avocado
"We are trying to incentivize learning about financial markets before an investment is actually made. With access being so easy to actually execute a trade, does that help or hurt investors in the long run? We believe we have an opportunity to help create generational wealth."
Obsess About Kaizen
Evan Werks - EvansWerks
"We obsess about Kaizen. Kaizen permeates every aspect of our company. The concept goes by many names (Lean, 3S, 5S, 6S, The Toyota Way, The Deming Process) but its all the same thing. And it only works if you live it in every aspect of your life. Google Kaizen to learn more. But, the short answer is Kaizen is a philosophy and set of pragmatic practices that improve a company's culture in baby steps. Concepts like 'Pay for the pain up front,' 'Identify & resolve friction,' 'Excellent not perfection,' and 'Kill your favorite children' are all parts of our company's deep commitment to Kaizen."
Share Your Expertise With Your Clients
Eric Chappel - THASecurity
"We share our experience gained in the U.S. Navy and at the National Security Agency with our clients. Helping them to better understand the threat of ignoring or passing off problems to others. Outsourcing is not a solution, and it does not relive you of your fiduciary responsibilities, it only compounds the problems and increases the threat while lowering your organization’s security posture. Our approach is to educate our clients on how to secure their organization while also meeting industry compliance requirements and empower them to go forward on their own with little to not assistance from outside organizations. Educate. Secure. Empower."
Get to Know Their Stories
Sherri Phillips - Deutsch Photography
"We interview our prospects and clients before every photo shoot to get to know a little about their stories, goals, and "pain points" so that we can tailor the shoot to meet their specific needs."
Everyone is Family
Terri Loftus - Terriloftus
"One of the top strategies we use that sets us apart from others is that we only offer what we would be comfortable using or advising for our own families."
Invest in People then Brand It
Lorena Miranda Bendeck - Sonder & Holiday
"I pay my people fairly, reinvest in their communities, change their lives, then brand it."
Don't Focus on Commerce
Karmen Berentsen - A Line Boutique
"Don’t focus on commerce. Yes, at the end of the day, we ring up product (sweaters, dresses, shoes, etc.) but what we are selling is confidence, empowerment…a feeling."
Approach With Simplicity
Travis Godoy - Godoy Medical Marketing
"To set my business apart from the competition, I go out of my way to demonstrate to prospects the (a) simplicity of our approach compared to others & (b) our dedication to helping them help more people in their medical field."
Provide Customer Clarity
Renee Rosales - Theara
"The Theara Way provides a clear step-by-step path to efficacy, equity, and empowerment for the Neurodiverse Collective thru the Theara Academy. Theara Way courses are built to positively transform everyday encounters, overcoming difficulties in understanding, coworking, and much more- baked into simple-to-understand modules that seek to educate rather than overwhelm. Theara is a community, a tool, and a resource of strategies to ensure everyone with Neurodiversity is living their best lives at home, at school, and at work. Over 20 percent of the human population can be identified as Neurodiverse, it is time we work to maximize the full potential of their divergent perspective and celebrate the beauty of Neurodiversity."
Taking Lessons From The Government
Michael Crandall - Digital Beach Head
"We take the cybersecurity lessons learned working with Government agencies and focus them towards the SMB marketplace. Using the vCISO concept we can provide customizable service sets that are affordable, sustainable and provides the cybersecurity any organization needs."