12 May 2014

Differentiating Your Business

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One of the keys to marketing a successful business is finding a way to differentiate what you do from all the other people out there who do the same thing. You have to tell your clients what makes you meaningful, honest and different from your competitors and you have to tell them what’s in it for them to work with you.

Some of the ways you can do that:
• Showcase how much experience you have, how long you have been in business.
• You use a different approach to your business than your competitors.
• Tell your clients what warranties and guarantees of satisfaction you offer.
• Let your clients know about special customers service you might offer – like special cleanup after construction or painting jobs.
• Promise great customer service and live up to it. If you promise to call back same day, then do it.
• Perhaps you offer unique products that your competitors don’t have access to.
• Or maybe you have cutting edge technology that no one else does.
• Perhaps you staff is certified or licensed staff above and beyond industry standards.
• Let you clients know you are bonded and insured for their peace of mind.
• Let people know if you are a sought after speaker or teacher in your industry.
• Shout your awards and recognition from the rooftops – if you have you been recognized by local, national or international organizations for your products or services, let you clients know about it.

Perhaps the best way to differentiate your business is by finding a niche in your industry that no one else is pursuing, but that people need.

Here’s a great example of a successful attorney who takes a unique approach to estate planning. Attorney Greg Poulos puts families first in Family First Estate Planning program. Unlike many of his competitors, before looking at a single document, Greg sits down with clients and has a long discussion to help him determine what the family needs are. Greg says, “A cookie cutter approach that only looks at your documents and assets – not at the differences in your heirs needs, circumstances and capacities – can cause friction among family members once you are gone. I talk with my clients first about their heirs, about how they think the transfer of wealth will affect their family members, about their values and their heirs values about money, and much more.”

When it first started in business, MoldOff offered a unique product that no one else did. MoldOff got its start as a mold removal product for the marine industry. Today, it offers mold removal products for commercial and home use, as well as its main line of products for the marine industry. Since no one else was offering mold removal for boats and water equipment, MoldOff had a great starting point for catching consumers’ attention.

And then there is Paw Posse – an online only store that started life selling large dog supplies (not small or medium size dogs, but large dogs only). Today, the business has expanded into toys and supplies for all size dogs, but their initial focus on large dog supplies helped them break into the industry with a unique approach that caught pet owner’s attention.

Last but not least, another small business in Phoenix called 360 Adventures got its start in the early 1990s by focusing solely on mountain biking and hiking tours. Because Phoenix is a winter retreat for snowbirds, there were dozens of other adventure companies in Arizona, but none that focused on mountain biking. Of course, these days the company offers all kinds of guided tours including climbing, hiking, canyoneering, air, ground and water tours all over Arizona.

In short, you have to find a niche that sets you apart and then tell a compelling story that helps your clients understand why you should be their preferred provider of whatever product or service you offer.