Best ways to set yourself apart from competitors

Today's consumers have a lot of choice in the number of businesses they can give their dollars to. As a result, it is in a business' best interest to set themselves apart from their competition. E-commerce and m-commerce have rapidly increased the level of competition in any given market. As a result, companies must strive to differentiate themselves from competitors. This often does not come without a lot of invested effort and strategic planning.

What can your business do to stand out from the masses? (Image credit: Leigh Goessl)

If a company wants to stand out from its competitors, it needs to focus on areas such as customer service, quality of products, offer personalization pricing and, above all, develop its own niche, even if it is selling other like products/services.

A business' strategy should focus less on what other companies are doing and more of what is being done internally. Copycat strategies may work to an extent, but over the long-term won't attain the same sustainability that unique approaches do; differentiation is a key factor in setting a company apart from the rest.

Be unique

If you sell a product or offer a service that is saturated in the market, this can be a tougher challenge. It is important to be unique and/or come up fresh ideas that distinguish existing ideas in order to stand out. Once a company identifies its strengths, it can develop business strategies surrounding these ideas. Focusing on a niche, even if others are selling the same, can be differentiated by showing consumers why a product or service is superior, adding a unique aspect to what the company offers can effectively achieve this.

Offer top-notch service

Customer service in the modern business environment is critical. Consumers today have a lot of choice and if a customer is not happy with service, chances are they'll quickly move on to a competitor and patronize that business. However companies that spend the time to develop relationships with their customers and get to know their likes and dislikes further their chances of distinguishing the business from others. Superiority in customer service goes a long way.

Be communicative

Communication is critical in any relationship and business is no exception. A stand-out company is able to be communicative both externally and internally. Externally are customers, vendors and other partnerships that are developed, it is vital to keep an open line of communication and keep information flowing both ways. However, internal communication is also of the essence.
Employees need communication and, those that have a communicative relationship with management, are likely to be happier in their jobs. As a result, they'll possess a higher degree of enthusiasm towards their work; this will shine to anyone externally dealing with the business.

Companies that are not very communicative are likely going to find themselves to be very appealing in the consumer market. A lack of communication definitely won't help a company set themselves apart, instead they'll probably be lumped in a group of businesses that consumers tend to avoid. An open door policy, both externally and internally, is a good stand-out strategy. Remember business is all about relationships.

Offer a fair competitive price

A percentage of consumers are price sensitive so it is essential to get this part right. The key is balance. A price too high is going to face a probability of being passed over, yet a low price may make consumers feel the product or service is inferior. There are exceptions where companies have achieved a branding level that commands high price, but for the average business, probably not. It's good to try and price your product on value. If you can gain an edge on your competitors by offering something extra, this also is appealing to customers.

Corporate social responsibility

Good corporate social responsibility can go a long way in developing distinction. Helping the local community and aiding in specific causes shows a more humanistic side to business and is often a draw to consumers. A business that can position itself as a strong presence in the society's eye can really make a company stand out. Getting involved not only helps others in need, but in the long run solidifies a business' reputation which becomes an asset to the business.

Competition is a natural aspect of doing business in a capitalistic society, but this is not limited to for-profit businesses in terms of profitability. Even not-for-profit companies need to assertively work to position themselves as strong contenders in an active marketplace in order to sustain and achieve visibility in order to meet their objectives.

Setting oneself apart from the competition is not always an easy feat, but with strategic planning and a willingness to go the extra mile can help a company flourish in the public eye.


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