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How do I differentiate my company in a crowded marketplace?

Discover the things that make you meaningful and different.
Discover the things that make you meaningful and different.
Graphics courtesy of Jen Wolfe Creative

The key to differentiating your business in a crowded marketplace is finding something that makes you meaningful and different from everyone else. Then you need to explain to customers why these differences make you the best choice.

There are lots of ways to carve a niche for yourself, so think closely about your business. What sets you apart?

For instance, how much experience do you have in your business or trade?
A good example is a local custom furniture craftsman here in Phoenix, MCustomFurniture. Dezsoe Milutinovics, trained with a master craftsman in Europe to create beautiful handmade desks, bookshelves, reception desks, conference tables and more. He eventually earned the title master craftsman and is now passing those skills on to his son, Gabor. Emphasizing the years and years of experience, the hand craftsmanship and the family-owned tradition of master craftsmanship are all great ways to show value to customers.

Does your business have special designations you can earn?

A locally owned franchise of National Auto Repair recently earned the industry’s eco-friendly “Green Garage Shop” designation. The owner had to meet a long list of qualifications in order to earn the designation including recycling just about everything. Going green is attractive lots of people these days, but not all industries have options like this. Still, there may be some special designation your industry offers that you can earn for your business.

Do you have a different approach from other experts in the field?

Sometimes, the approach you initially take with clients can set you apart. In the crowded field of estate planning in Scottsdale (particularly with all the snow birds in Arizona) it can be difficult to set yourself apart. Poulos Law Firm has an approach that puts families first. Before even looking at a single document, Attorney Greg Poulos sits down with clients and goes through a long list of questions to help determine what the family needs are. Greg says, “Your estate plan should take into account your heirs different needs, circumstances and capacities. A cookie cutter approach to Estate Planning most likely won’t work for every family. The Family First Estate Planning method ensures that your family respects your intent and wishes for your legacy.”

Other ways to show you are different might include:

• Guarantees — warranties, guarantees of 100% satisfaction, good return policies and more, are excellent ways to encourage customers to trust you and do business with you.
• Excellent work habits — perhaps a painter promises to wear booties, place drop cloth everything, clean up every spot and vacuum for you on the way out.
• Customer service — do you promise to call back same day when a customer leaves a message? Do you go above and beyond every time when dealing with a customer?
• Unique products — do you have access to special products that no one else has?
• Cutting edge technology — perhaps your business is the first in Phoenix to take advantage of a new technology?
• Certified and licensed staff — many industries don’t require certification or licensing, but if there is the opportunity, advertising that your staff is certified and licensed is a bonus.
• Bonded and insured — many trade industries don’t require bonding or insurance, but if you do, you are one step up on the competition.
• Speaker or teacher — are you known for your speaking or teaching accomplishment in your industry?
• Awards and recognition — have you been recognized by local, national or international organizations for your products or services?

Some or all of these elements can help you distinguish yourself from the competition. The more ways you can set yourself apart, the better. But perhaps the most important message you can pass on to clients is what’s in it for them to work with or buy products or services from you.

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