Startup Right With Harmony - How to make your startup standout in a crowded market
Over millions of startups operate today across the globe and within local communities. The market is very competitive and startups need to break barriers to get their businesses under the spotlight and to target customers.
But competition is a necessary evil for business growth. It keeps businesses on their toes to keep delivering and making positive impacts besides making the million bucks. Competition is also a motivational drive for startups to revisit their business goals, core visions and strategies to build up and fill the missing gaps.
Our everyday live is a competition. It cannot be avoided. The idea of becoming better than another is a good ideal to motivate change, consistency and betterment. Running a business is no different. There are other businesses providing same products and services within same demographics, at the same prices, value and even with similar packaging and branding. The underlying core is what makes you special? Why should the consumer buy from you?
This awareness of other competitors in your industry is a good thing to drive startups to always be on top of their game.
Standing out does not only mean a possibility of good customers, breakeven, or building a competitive brand. It's also a way to position your startup for strategic partnerships, financial support or aid and attracting investors. Giving your business a competitive edge is pretty much a lot of work and quite frustrating when the big companies have all the financial backing and the adequate establishments needed to overshadow you.
As more startups emerge and popular industries get crowded, startups need the X factor to stand out in an already booming market. Something about your business, products and services have got to drive customers to you instead of your competitors. Something unique has got to ignite the spark in customers to choose you.
These seven (7) steps will help you stand out
- Be Original; Be Unique
I'm afraid, I can't say this for 80percent of startup businesses today. Many startups are operating in crowded markets without their own original identities and brands. You can neither tell the difference from one business to the other. Before starting a business, it's necessary to take the pain to research a little about your choice of industry, existing competition, your target consumers and the product or services you want to provide.
This will give you some good understanding of what to create and how to offer it. To be unique and original in a crowded market is just a step away from the desired success and growth you have set out to achieve. Take the chance, endure a little pain and stand out!
- Understand your market and competition
How do you compete or stand out if you have no idea about your industry and competition? Who do you compete with? To what do you measure your outputs? To stand out, you need to have a deep understanding of your competition, what works for them and how they do it.
In order to compete, as noted above, take a little pain to research if you really want to succeed. You can develop wining competitive strategies based on what already exist. Analyze your competitors’ successes, failures, and strategies. It will be adventurous to be one of their customers to learn more about what you can do differently or engage their customers.
- Be human
Be human as much as possible. Be visible to customers and be reachable. There are many startup businesses today with only names and logos but are not within human reach. Emphatically, consumers love to deal with faces behind the businesses more so than have relationships with the business. Make your startup human relatable as much as possible. Build human relationships with consumers. Establish a ‘face’ behind your business and engage one on one with customers.
- Differentiate products /services
The name and logo of your business will give you an identity. But your products or services are what make you the business. It is what creates the relationship between the customer and the business. This is what you build your story around.
Consumers should be able to differentiate your service and products from your competitors. It should speak volumes to their needs. It must give them a unique value – it has to be uniquely useful to the consumer.
Many times the packaging of startups services and products are quite ordinary. Define your deliverables, determine fixed prices, give the product and services powerful names that stay on the lips of your customers. Differentiate your service offerings beyond your ordinary best.
- Solve a problem/need
A business which serves no need but make money is no business. A business should have a purpose. The purpose which informed its establishment needs to be put into visions, missions and goals. A business must first be set up to solve a problem or a need.
Here again, the need for a research is crucial to determine which problem you can identify and provide unique solutions too.
Most startups today, set up because it is an escape from unemployment and a source of quick wealth. It is a hearty responsibility of every entrepreneur to find a problem and provide a solution to it. If you are an entrepreneur because you only perceived it as a way to become rich and famous, you should get yourself a job –you're certainly in the wrong career.
- Customer service
One important thing to note about customers is that, they are your business. As a startup, be proud to admit that. Do not challenge your customers when they express their opinions. Without the customer, you have no business. Hence treating them as stakeholders instead of a profit bag, would go a long way to make your startup stand out.
Go out of your way to create ways to treat your customers, as much as you would want to be treated as a customer. Create gifts for favorite customers, give them special offers and always deliver more than you promise. You will not only retain your customers but gain more through the well treated ones.
- Communicate the difference
Don't just tell the story about what you can offer and how best you can offer it. When creating your communication and PR strategies, remember what makes you different – what makes you stand out, that is the story you should tell.
Shout about it. Convey the difference between you and your competitors. Channel them through your marketing, advertising and all your promotions. Let the customer note how different you are from the mass. Prove it to them, express it and offer it as well.
No one will tell that story better than you. The outcome will be rewarding in a market where many businesses are offering the same products and services. And stay committed and true to your story.