If there’s one thing most of the small and medium-sized businesses I work with have in common, it’s this: the struggle to differentiate. I often talk about how just being competent is often enough to stand out. But to be truly extraordinary and dominate your market, you need to do more. So, here are five ways to make get your business noticed.
1) Own a niche. For example, Volvo is not the world’s biggest or best car brand. But it owns the “safe vehicle” space in the minds of premium car buyers. What niche could you own within your market?
2) Develop a unique attribute: Many companies (particularly in the software industry) go to market with a “me too” offering that differs very little from the competition. Or they fail to evolve when their competitors catch up. You don’t need to invest millions in product development. Excellence in execution, which can deliver standout ROI cost-effectively, is often enough. What can you change or add to your offer that will put you ahead of the pack?
3) Buck the trend: This is the one that most companies are scared of. Clients frequently come to me saying they want to stand out and then back off as soon as I suggest putting out a controversial message. What issue is your industry ignoring that you can use to rock the boat?
4) Get a makeover: One of my clients owns a distinct visual identity in its market. Even the internal décor of their office has been expensively customized to reflect it, and staff always stand out at events when wearing their corporate colors. It’s a simple idea and, of course, it needs to be backed up with a great product or service to be effective – and in their case it is. How can you reimagine your corporate image to stand out in a positive way?
5) Select evangelists: Sometimes companies have great stories to tell, but they don’t broadcast them well enough. Every business needs at least one or two people (not just the CEO) who are great speakers, are natural and confident on camera, and who are prepared to travel often to get in front of large industry audiences. In most markets, webinars and social media are not enough, and never will be! Who in your organization can spread your message, in person, throughout your market?
Your task: Answer the 5 questions above and then take action on at least one of them!
Copyright, Hamish Mackenzie 2019