Have you ever gone to the store to buy a bottle of vodka? I'm not much of a vodka drinker, but was recently entertaining and wanted to get a bottle for my guests. When I approached the vodka aisle, I was overwhelmed by my choices. It all looked the same, and to me it all tastes the same. So which one should I pick? Since none of them stood out in any meaningful way, I just picked one that was on sale and went on with my day.
Is that happening to your business? Are you one of many businesses in your industry doing the same thing? If you can't give potential clients a reason to work with you - if you can't tell them what makes you unique, different and special, then you become a commodity where price will determine who gets the business, and you are in a race for the bottom.
So what's the answer...how do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
You need to take a very honest look at your business. I meet with business owners all the time and ask what makes their business different from their competitors. The number one answer I get is that they provide great customer service. Guess what...so do lots of businesses! That's not a differentiator. The number two answer I hear is "We do great work." Again, that's not a differentiator. What makes you different is your unique selling proposition and it needs to be something that no one else is saying. You need to dig deep and take a hard look at your business. That's not always easy when you' re the owner of the business. For me, I can easily identify this for my clients, but it's not so easy with my own business. As owners, it's hard to be objective.
So what if you can't find your unique selling proposition?
Then you create one. Sometimes a photographer is simply a photographer. Although they are doing great work, they aren't really different from everyone else. In this case, you need to create your unique selling proposition. Maybe this photographer dislikes working weekends so they create a business specializing in corporate photography. Or maybe they only want to work on weekends so they specialize in weddings. If you have a business where you really don't do anything differently from your competitors, then carve out a niche.
Think about what makes your business unique, or create something that separates you from your competitors. Either way you stand to position yourself as an expert in your field, grow your business and generate more income!!
Written by Meg Huwar, Founder at Brand Accelerator, is a Pittsburgh based marketing company that helps small business owners grow their business and profits by creating a powerful brand.