To start a business in this day and age, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. However, you do need to make sure your business is unique enough to stand out. This doesn’t mean coming up with something totally brand new that has never, ever been seen before (not that this won’t work, it just isn’t necessary). It means differentiating yourself from similar businesses in your industry.
Below are some tips to help ensure your business is standing out against an ocean of similar and competitive businesses out there.
Deliver the Best Service Imaginable
One of the best ways to make your business stand out is to deliver the best service imaginable to your customers. If you have a laser focus on offering the best customer service, the news will quickly spread and you can bet a torrent of new customers will come at you in no time.
Make sure you do all you can to improve your process and communication with the customer. Put yourself in their shoes — make sure you actually listen to them too. Make them feel important and make your business all about them. This is how you make your business stand out.
Make Something About Your Service/Product Unique
You don’t need to make something never been seen before, but you should make something about your product or service unique. For example, you could offer a free personalisation service. This will work for many products and offerings. All you need to do is make sure you have the right equipment, or person on hand if you’re going to outsource.
You can start making your decision by looking at this boss laser review. There are lots of other ways to make your product or service unique, so make sure you figure out how best to do this for your unique business.
Create a Powerful Guarantee
A powerful guarantee will make people feel like they have nothing to lose by working with you. What can you offer? It’ll show just how confident you are in your product and or service.
Become a Social Business
Social businesses get the best response. This is how you show that you’re a genuine, trustworthy business these days. It’s also how you establish yourself as a top business in your niche. Share your expertise! You can do this with a blog, vlog, or both.
Whatever you do, make sure you’re creating unique and helpful content that your audience will keep coming back for. Answer questions and respond to your customers in a timely manner too. Don’t just go for the hard sell — be social. You’ll build better relationships this way.
Be as Transparent as Possible
One of the best things a new business can do is be transparent. Communication is key with customers, but they’ll be able to see right through you if you’re not genuine. Admit mistakes, if something comes up. They’ll respect you a lot more.
How else do you think you can make your business stand out? Leave your thoughts below!
When you’re first starting a business, it can be very hard to make sure that you have everything under control. With a lot of new things to learn about, a lot of startups will miss out or forget some of the most important parts of their building journey. Of course, though, while you will save time during this, you will also find it a lot harder to keep your business afloat without everything it needs. To help you out with this, the post will be going through some of the elements your business won’t be able to live without. With this in mind, you should be able to take all of the stress out of your new company.
Finance and Law
When it comes to money, a lot of small businesses think they have everything they need to get started. In most cases, though, simple accounting software like Freshbooks isn’t enough. Along with this, you also need an expert to be able to monitor, manage, and make changes to the money within in your business.
Of course, though, at the start, you probably won’t have a budget which will enable this sort of recruitment. So, instead, you’ll need to find a bookkeeping firm to help you. This sort of business can handle every aspect of your business’s money, without having to take your attention away from the work that matters.
Alongside money, a lot of start-ups also neglect the law in their area. In most cases, it will be unlikely that there are any rules which stop you from selling your products or from operating in a way which makes sense. But, it’s still worth getting some help. Like your bookkeeping, you can have this sort of area handled by another company.
Legal advice comes in lots of shapes and sizes. The free options you can find online are great, but won’t protect you from things which you miss. Instead, it can be much better to have a professional who already knows what will have to be done.
Brand and Marketing
With so many competitors out there, modern companies have a harder time than ever when it comes to getting customers to notice them. This is where your brand comes in. Companies with poor or inconsistent branding rarely manage to be successful. Unfortunately, most customers will completely ignore you if you don’t have a good logo, color scheme, and house style to go from.
Along with this, though, your brand also represents the way you act and communicate with customers. To avoid issues in this area, it’s a good idea to get the help of both a PR and a graphic design agency. With these under your belt, it will be easy to tailor your user’s experience for the better.
Once you have a good brand in place, you can start to think about the marketing your business will get involved with. In most cases, it will be essential to at least be posting to social media platforms every couple of days. Along with this, though, you could also start to think about ideas which other companies don’t use. Most websites have mailing lists, giving you an excellent chance to collect customer data. With this data, you can do things like host competitions or sweepstakes, drawing more and more people to your company.
Products and Services
With a strong sense of control over money, along with branding and marketing perfectly in place, you can start to think about the products and services you offer to your customers. In most cases, customers will expect the best-quality regardless of what they pay for something. So, to make sure you can meet people’s needs in this area, it’s always worth looking at mid-range options which offer good value for money.
Along with this, you should also make sure that the products you choose meet the legal requirements for safety where you’re based and selling to. When buying items from other countries, it can be very easy to overlook factors like this. But, in most cases, it will be hard to prove to customers that your products are worth their money if they don’t work within the law. Instead, it’s best to make sure you understand the regulations you have to follow.
Running a new business is usually a lot of work. With all of the new skills you have to learn, it can feel like you don’t have any time to focus on your actual company. But, with a little bit of help, you can solve this sort of issue before it even impacts you. It just takes some hard work and dedication.
Presenting your product well is a major part of securing a sale. However, that’s not where its importance ends. Your product should also be well-presented to please people once they’ve purchased it too, especially if they buy it online. There’s no point in it looking good on your website if your customers are displeased with it when it arrives. There are several different elements to think about if you want to present your product in a way that encourages the success of your business. From the packaging you use to the photos you put on your marketing materials, you need to put a lot of thought into it.
Create Custom Packaging and Containers
The first thing you can consider is the way that your product is packaged. Most products need packaging of some kind, whether it’s bottle or jar or a box. While not every product needs to be packaged, those that are need to have packaging that stands out. Otherwise, people might be less inclined to make a purchase. Creating custom packaging is the way to go if you want to stand out. Try using something like CL Smith services, where you can get packaging that’s unique to your brand. You should think about how your packaging will catch people’s eyes.
Deliver Thoughtful Packages
If you’re sending your products through the mail, that’s another level of presentation you can think about. You need to think about practical ways to send your products, but you can also consider how to make them look good. You might have custom boxes or envelopes so customers can see your branding as soon as they arrive. You can even add a personal touch to your packages, perhaps with a little note inside or a treat, like a pack of candy. You can be creative with how you package your products to send out.
Take Excellent Photos
Great quality photos of your products are necessary for various marketing materials. From your website to a brochure or catalog of your products, you need to make your products look amazing in photo form. The best thing to do is to hire a professional product photographer so they can do an excellent job capturing your products. Some small business owners might choose to take their own photos, but you’re going to need the right equipment and skills if you want to get it right. Your photos could be useful for years, so it’s worth spending some money to get it right.
Present Your Products When Selling Directly
If you sell your products in a store or perhaps on a market stall, you need to be able to organize them in a presentable way. It’s not as easy as you might think, and you can sometimes end up with a bit of a mess. You need to get creative and learn a little about visual marketing if you want to get it right.
How you present your products is hugely important, so don’t neglect it if you want your products to sell. It can also help to keep your customers coming back.
I’ve spoken a lot about the various factors behind a successful business. I’ve even attempted to tackle marketing, branding, and so on. But, it’s important to remember that the top priority for your business success should be your product. That’s what stands to make or break your enterprise. The best marketing campaign in the world won’t do any good if your product isn’t up to scratch.
So today, together, we’re going to take a little time to think about your product itself. The chances are, you’re happy with how it is at the moment. It’s on the market, and things seem to be going well. But, remember that the market is competitive. You always need to be on the lookout for ways to stand out. As such, product development should be on going. In the meantime, though, it may be worth considering ways you can make more of your product as it stands.
Here are a few methods you may want to try.
Additions for Your Product
There are a few benefits for offering additions to your product. For one, they’re a sure way to keep interest high. Major product development takes time. Customers could lose interest if you aren’t careful. Offering small additions in the meantime can help to keep them on side. Plus, it’s an excellent way to make more money from your original idea.
The additions you offer depend on your product itself. They should be optional extras which allow people to create a product which suits them. Something like different cases, or add-ons which enhance performance are sure to go down well. Such steps may seem insignificant compared to your main product, but they’re worth taking. Customers will love the opportunity to customise their purchases.
An App to Go Alongside
We have an app for everything nowadays. And, your product should be no different. Developing an app which customers can download for free will help to create a sense of community. Plus, it’ll enhance their experience with your product. Think carefully about which type of app would work best. If you want to keep things lighthearted, you could develop a game which relates in some way. Or, you could keep things professional with an app which tracks your product’s performance, or enhances it. If you’re not sure which path would be best, take a look at something like these mobile app examples and ideas to get your started. As with anything, looking at what works is the best forward.
Additional Online Content
It’s also worth offering customers extra online content. Create a password which unlocks special offers, or additional product features. You don’t have to be too elaborate with this to make it work. Offering customers a small discount now and again is all it takes. It may even be worth developing a newsletter for existing customers. Then, you can email them special offers once a month. Online interactions like these have the benefit of creating customer loyalty, and keeping your product fresh in their minds.
Your business needs a great product. You might have the idea of a great product, but do you have the real thing to go with it? Some business owners will rely on expertise to help them polish off the final creation, which is all well and good. But to really understand what works about your product, what doesn’t, what costs, and what saves, you have to get closer. Every business owner needs to be a craftsman in some aspect.
Know the processes
You need a good idea before you have a good product. Intuition, creativity, and an eye for demand help you get that far. But they aren’t enough. The materials, the manufacturing process, how it’s all put together. These are what dictate quality. If you’re using plastics in your product, then consider some injection molding training.
If you’re starting a woodworking enterprise, then make sure you know the different kinds of woods involved and how they can serve a design better. Get to know the physical properties of your product and how it actually feels. That way you know what changes are necessary to evolve the product, rather than just wondering if you can do it better.
Know the costs
A deep knowledge of those processes involves knowing how much it costs to use them. You will want an idea of how much it costs to create every product, yes. But you should also know how much every step in its creation costs. That way, you can figure where you can cut costs if you need to without sacrificing the most important aspects of the product.
You can also be aware of potential downtime and maintenance in the different steps of the manufacturing processes, helping you create a proactive and preventative policy that reduces the risks.
Know what your customers know
Simply put, you need to get hands on with your product. Knowing what the customer wants is key to a good product concept. Feeling the product, its weight, how easy it is to hold, where it can be positioned. That’s how you know what the customer knows about it. The subjective experience of handling a product can be as big a benefit or as annoying a barrier as how much use someone gets out of said product.
Working closely with your product is also going to make you more passionate about its design and success. While you want to avoid becoming obsessed and unable to see the bigger picture of the business, passion is important. The market sees passion as a positive and is willing to put faith in a product that has real belief and care behind it. Plus, the more you know about your product, the more in-detail you can talk about it to different consumers, showing you’re a business that has real expertise in what they do.
The closer you are to your product, the more likely you are to the spark of inspiration that changes your products for the better. Also, the less likely you are to miss the failures that customers will be able to see all too easily.
Your brand, while intangible, is one of the most important assets your business holds. The reputation of your business, and how widely this reputation can be spread amongst your target audience, will have a massive impact on your long-term profits, and certainly isn’t something you can afford to ignore.
Unfortunately, many businesses carry on struggling forward with a brand that’s much weaker than it could be. Like many things, this is almost always the business’s own fault! If you’re concerned about the strength of your brand, here are some of the ways you could be killing it.
Believing Your Work Speaks for Itself
Wouldn’t it be nice if all businesses were judged on the merits of their work, rather than anything else? Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. There are a couple of issues with this belief.
First of all, the bulk of your customers aren’t going to be experts in your industry, and won’t be able to make a fair judgment on the quality and integrity of the work you do. You don’t see consumers critiquing a given business in the same way that another business owner does.
Secondly, even if they take an active interest in everything your business does, this doesn’t mean that they’re going to be actively spreading the word, and stimulating visibility for your brand. This is your job, and needs to be achieved through well thought-out marketing campaigns. The quality of your work alone unfortunately isn’t enough to build a brand on.
It’s okay to love your existing customer base. After all, without these people, your business would have faltered in its first few months of trading, and you probably wouldn’t be reading this article!
However, believing that your customers are somehow unique for choosing your brand, and using this to justify waiving established marketing conventions, is a big mistake. Yes, we’re all unique, and our behaviors are influenced majorly by our individual backgrounds and personalities.
Having said that, the large majority of consumers have measurable behavioral trends that vary from industry to industry. Even if your product or service means you’ll be marketing to a very specific niche, there are going to be some patterns you can pick up on.
No matter what kind of values or qualities bind your customer base together, these people are always going to make emotional decisions, and back them up with hard, logical facts. If you overlook this, and treat your marketing strategy accordingly, it’s certainly going to come back to bite you.
“Anyone Can Use Our Product/Service”
Just like the quality standards you apply in your business’s work, you can’t rely on the versatility of your product or service to carry your brand. This is an extremely common and damaging belief that a lot of business owners tend to adopt. Yes, it may be technically true that everyone could use your product or service.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should be marketing to everyone under the sun. Talk to anyone at a premier digital marketing agency, and they’ll affirm that if you try to sell to everyone, you can easily wind up selling to no one. This mistake is especially prevalent amongst tech start-ups and B2B (business-to-business) accounting firms.
Don’t list countless demographics and buyer personas, and try to treat all of them as your company’s specialty. This is only going to dilute your efforts to strengthen your brand, and in some cases, blot out the various strengths that your business actually does have.
Decide on just one or two target demographics that you really excel at marketing to, and then devote more of your resources to these. You can’t be everyone’s go-to brand for a certain product or service, so don’t try!
Dividing Your MarketingBudget Equally Between Your Partners
An increasing number of small and medium businesses have several owners, usually known as partners, who will hold considerable influence over many of the decisions made by the business. With different people making big decisions, all with their own varying interests, you may be afraid of any kind of conflict.
This fear can often lead to CEOs dividing their available marketing resources between all the partners equally. In many cases, this simply leads to a chaotic and confusing mixture of messages, and ultimately, dilution of your brand.
Some firms will even find themselves in a position where they have more than one logo, more than one website, and no kind of consistent positioning or brand identity.
As you can imagine, this will drag a brand through the mud faster than any other blunder, especially with a business’s online presence counting for so much these days.
Modelling Your Marketing Strategy on Your Closest Competitor’s
Isn’t the reassurance of running with the pack nice? It seems that more and more business owners are allowing their branding materials to be dictated by their closest competitor’s. This is why you see so many websites that follow the same design sensibilities, and why so many brands try to use differentiators that are horribly ineffective.
There may be a certain comfort and reassurance in taking cues from your competitors, but you need to be wary of this. Fitting in with the other players in your niche can be an exceedingly risky marketing strategy.
If you do a little digging, you’ll find that it’s the businesses that use strong and clearly communicated differentiators are the ones that grow efficiently, and are able to maintain a strong, unique brand in the long run.
If you don’t make a point to separate all your branding materials from your closest competitor’s, you’ll quickly become one more drop in a vast ocean.
All business owners think about the strength of their brand, but it’s only the ones who really understand it that win. If you’ve been making any of these branding blunders, or you’re starting to see them on the horizon when you look at your marketing team’s work, it’s time to turn things around.
Build a strong brand, and you’ll be amazed at where it can take you!
If you’re looking to start up your own business and have a few ideas in your head — before you do anything else, you should make a checklist of all things your product will need.
People don’t want to be messing around trying to work a product, no one has time for that. So when thinking about ideas, make sure that it’s simple enough to use.
You need to think outside the box. There are so many different things out there nowadays that it’s hard to find something that stands out. So have a long, hard think about what can make your idea more intriguing than the next one.
The best way you’re going to reach out to consumers, is if you create something that offers a solution to people’s problems. Like a scent machine; the use is in the name, and it offers to release some wonderful scents within your home which are vegan and pet-friendly too.
Keep it simple enough to understand, while solving someone’s issue.
Think of something that will be of use to the consumers for not just today, but tomorrow and the next day, and the next. If you don’t do this, your product may just end up being a fad.
Create something that will make people excited to go out and buy it. If you can make your product enjoyable, as well as productive, you may stand a real chance at success.
Know the value
You won’t get a lot of people buying your product if they don’t see the value in it. It’s even worse if they invest in your idea, only to come to the conclusion that it’s not worth the purchase.
This could be could terrible for business, especially if the customer openly shares their opinions.
It’s very easy to get knocked out of the ring by another competitor, so you must always be on your game. Don’t think of an idea that means bringing out several products, instead create something that has all of those qualities in one item. If you don’t do this, your competitor will beat you to it, and could quite possibly steal all of your consumers because they will be known as the ‘better version.’
You may go through this whole process, only to realise at the end that you’ve made an exact copy of something that already exists. You want to avoid this happening at all costs!
Know your industry
This all comes with time and experience. If you’re new to all of this, familiarise yourself with the basics first. You are more likely to fail if you have no idea where you are or what you’re doing.
Ask for feedback
This is so important, but a lot of people out there ignore this step because unfortunately, the truth hurts sometimes. But if you expect to be successful, you’re going to have to listen to what your consumers want, what they don’t like about your product, and how you can make it better.
Business is complex, there’s so much more to it than simply having a good product or service. Getting your name out there, building up loyal customers and ensuring you are delivering an excellent service every time is easier said than done. Here are three things that are easily overlooked but necessary to get on board with, if you’re serious about making your business a success.
Branding is crucial when it comes to business. It’s much more than just a logo or website (although these are of course important). It’s about tapping into the psychology of the customer. Once you work out exactly what they want, your brand can essentially sell them a certain kind of lifestyle — not just a product.
Work out your unique selling point and go from there, aim to give customers something they can’t easily get elsewhere. There may be a thousand companies selling carpets out there for example, so how is yours different? Maybe you offer a payment plan, or offers for those on a low-income. Perhaps you specialise in luxury or budget carpets.
Whatever it is, use that to help you create your brand. Customers trust brands because they are seen as credible and reliable, they know you have a reputation to uphold. Branding is incredibly powerful, and definitely not something to overlook as an entrepreneur. You could have the best product or service in the world, but it’s not necessarily going to sell itself.
Being able to captivate people and grab their attention is key to your success in business.
Now that just about everything is online, it’s easy to overlook traditional methods of promotion like flyers and business cards.
As a business owner, you should be networking effectively, and that means having your information on hand to pass over when needed. If you’re at a convention or event with lots of entrepreneurs and potential clients mixing, it would be foolish to expect or rely on people remembering your information.
You can design and print cards on this website and many others. It’s inexpensive and could be exactly what’s needed to snag you those all important clients and customers.
Business is highly competitive, and your company is a small fish in an enormous pond. You might have a professional, well put together website, but really it’s floating out in cyberspace and is very difficult for people to find.
One way you can make it a little easier is by writing a business blog. When you write a blog, you begin to gain a loyal following. Blog posts attract social shares, so if you put useful content out there people will basically advertise it for free by sharing it.
You can use your blog to promote your product and services, and over time it will help to boost your page rank in search engines too.
Had you overlooked any of these regarding your business? What important factors do you feel shouldn’t be overlooked to ensure success?
One of the major reasons that many new businesses fail is that those in charge are not fully prepared for just how much work there will be. This might sound strange, given that running a business obviously requires a lot of effort from anyone — but it’s true.
No matter how much you think you might know, it always turns out that there’s more to it than you had originally anticipated.
A successful entrepreneur needs to know how to approach their business from all angles simultaneously.
There are so many ways in which they need to look at what is going on, and sometimes it can feel like trying to be omnipresent. You really do have to be everywhere at once.
To get you ready for that feeling, we have put together some of the major aspects of running a business. However, this is not an exhaustive list, so keep your eyes open as you get into it.
As your central hub, the office plays a very important role in the growth and sustenance of the business.
It is often surprising how some business owners are unaware of the importance of running a smooth office. Any problems that occur in your headquarters, are likely to trickle down to your customer and subsequently affect their experience with your business. No business wants to affect their customers’ experience, so you need to be sure that you are keeping an eye on what’s happening in your office at all times.
There will be times of low morale, as this happens in every workplace environment at least once. But you should be sure that you have the necessary tools and personal persuasion to be able to limit those occurrences and to deal with them accurately when they do appear.
Run the office as smoothly as you can and the rest of the business will eventually follow suit. Conversely, allow it to fester and the same will happen in the rest of the business too.
Your customers are as important to your business as your employees. It is vital you remember this, as it determines the success or failure of your business pursuits.
No matter what’s going on in your business behind-the-scenes, always ensure your customers are happy.
There are numerous sides to just this issue that you could write an entire book on the subject. One core tenet of good customer service is communicating well. The quality of communication with your customers should be honest, direct, polite, and professional. This translates into happily returning customers and possibly referrals for your business.
Good customer service experience can very often make up for anything, like a product delivered not being slightly disappointing. It’s important that your customer service staff are well-trained, as this makes a world of difference.
And above all, ensure that you are over-delivering on whatever you promised. This is a great way to keep customers happy.
The Digital Space
In a digital age, traditional brick and mortar businesses now need to thrive online as well. For some businesses, retail has been outpaced by online (direct-to-consumer sales).
To keep your business in good shape, you’ll need to undertake a few things, like hiring professionals with specific technical skill sets like web development, UX design, SEO, data analytics, etc. This will help to make your website more functional.
In fact, some argue that accessibility, usability and SEO go hand in hand. With a strong SEO, you can be sure that you are attracting web traffic to your business. This promotes online marketing and demonstrates that you are a modern business.
This could be a product in the more traditional sense — something tangible as opposed to digital.
Do your best to guarantee your product is as good as it can be. You will find that this is one area that necessitates you pay attention to customer feedback. Customers will offer invaluable feedback on your products that will save you time, money and effort to conduct a market research to solicit the same data.
This will help to grow your business much faster.
Figure out how to make all four moving parts work cohesively and you’re well on your way to making your customers happy about their overall experience with your business. Everything else should fall into place as you grow.
How many of you have seen a popular company make the attempt to rebrand themselves? I thought as much; almost all of you. Some brands got it right, but a few duds come to mind, like Gap (see below) and Arby’s that did it horribly wrong.
From a design standpoint, when attempting to redo an existing logo design for your business [that has worked well for years and possibly decades], it is important that the personality of that design is preserved. After all, these days branding is more than just visuals. It has evolved into the emotions you feel; the experiences you have interacting with that business’ product or service; and the memories you make.
Coca-Cola’s classic logo (unchanged for over 100 years) and its “Open Happiness” global campaign are great modern examples of doing it right. Two words come to mind — brand loyalty. When redesigning your logo, bear in mind what your company represents and what you have envisioned for its expansion in the short, medium, to long-term. Form is as important as function; do not forget that.
Do not give up your ‘competitive advantage’! Your brand should be able to tell a story and its visuals are a part of that storytelling. Before you rebrand try to keep in mind the importance of your product and if you are a designer (like myself), before you take on a rebranding project, focus on your client’s unique identity and preserve that explicitly or subtly as is necessary.
Often times when a business begins to experience growth, in sustaining or expanding that growth potential we seek out ways to improve our product(s) and service(s). Do not be fooled to think that an “improvement” in your brand has to involve a 180 degree move. New is not always better. Old is sometimes best. Sometimes all we need to do is give what has been working a bit of a polish to make it just a little shinier. It “pays” to be authentic.
Disclaimer: NOT a promotional endorsement for Coca-Cola, but their logo’s pretty damn cool.