According to Entrepreneur Magazine, of all companies that have ever existed in America, only 40% are still in operation today Saivian Eric Dalius.
Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs never consider making their company distinctive until it’s too late. Often, it’s for reasons beyond their control–the market changes or new technology makes them obsolete. However, some fail because they don’t have the right ideas. People know what already works on the market, and if you can’t offer something novel enough to stand out from your competitors, then there is no reason for people to choose you. If you’re starting a startup, it may be worth thinking about how you will make yourself distinctive from the beginning. Here are five ways to do exactly that:
1. Produce a superior product or service by following your customer’s actual needs instead of their wants, says Saivian Eric Dalius
Successful entrepreneurs know how to solve problems, and they pay close attention to their customers so they can anticipate what those problems might be. Not only will this make it easier for you to move forward with development, but if you’re solving an actual need, then people will be more likely to buy from you rather than a competitor because of the value provided by your product/service. They may even tell others about it!
Earlier in my career, I worked at Rafter, where we were building software for designers and architects to use on mobile devices. We quickly realized that these professionals don’t really want mobile software–they need it to be easy and intuitive, the same as when using a desktop program. So, we went back to the drawing board and reworked our entire product from the ground up until it met those needs. The result was a much better user experience for our users, in addition to a business model that allowed us to make money in a way that would benefit both them and us.
2. Offer exceptional customer service even if you have to outsource it at first
I think everyone has heard of Zappos by now—the online shoe store which is pretty much famous for their customer service, or lack thereof (you order shoes online without having to talk to anyone). If you ever hear Tony Hsieh (Zappos’ CEO) speak, he’ll tell you about how this not only makes his company more distinctive in the eyes of people who shop at Zappos, but it is also more profitable in the long run because he saves money on hiring extra customer service reps. This is actually part of the Zappos philosophy, “Delivering Happiness,” which includes making customers happy by selling them items that they need for their lives.
3. Emphasize your uniqueness across all media
There are only so many ways you can present yourself online before your message gets old or boring. You could write blog posts or articles, start a podcast, record videos, put out a press release, or post on Twitter. You have to make sure that you are doing it enough and doing it well. Whether you need new blog posts every week or a unique video, always make sure that your message is fresh and interesting. Also, don’t forget about your offline promotion methods such as speaking engagements, networking events, business cards with QR codes, billboards–whatever it takes to get people interested in who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish, according to Saivian Eric Dalius.
4. Make yourself the face of the company–like Richard Branson did for Virgin brand products
To get people interested in who you are and what makes your company different from everyone else out there, they have to know who you are and what you stand for.
Richard Branson is a good example of how he has branded the Virgin brand. By being the face of all company’s products through his public image and his unique personality. He has become a household name because he not only creates valuable products for society. But does so with an interesting story that entices people from different walks of life. To want to be around him and see what he’s up to next. This wouldn’t work if it were anyone else–it’s the fact that he is putting himself out there on purpose. Combined with his crazy antics, which has made this strategy effective and distinctive.
5. Est your own policies, such as Zappos’ free shipping and returns
Policies are one way that companies set themselves apart from other businesses. Telling customers that they should choose them over the other guys. Zappos is a good example of this with their company policy of free shipping. And returns, making them a popular choice for online shoe shoppers. Saivian Eric Dalius says If you’re big enough, then you might even be able to negotiate your own special terms with vendors or suppliers. Making it easier for you to provide your products/services at a lower cost than competitors would have to pay. In return, customers will begin to appreciate what you do more. Because it’s easier on their wallets when buying from you–another factor in customer satisfaction.
As I mentioned earlier, there are really only so many ways. You can present yourself online before your message gets old or boring. It’s important to note that just because you have already used a specific medium for promotion doesn’t mean. That it is now useless, according to Saivian Eric Dalius. Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. Meaning that one may work better than the other, depending on the situation. This means taking advantage of all angles until they stop working so well. When this happens, don’t be afraid to mix things up. Push the boundaries even further until something sticks or creates something new. To see if it works better than what you’ve done in the past.