People start businesses all the time, and perhaps you’re one of them (or you’re about to be). That’s a great thing, but unless you can differentiate yourself from the others, it’s going to be hard to really become as successful as you might hope.
That’s why it’s crucial to ask yourself what makes your startup different and really think about the answers because those answers are what you need to promote to show your customers that you’re there and ready to help them. As for the things that aren’t so different - and there will definitely be some - what you do about them will depend on a variety of other factors, including how well you stand out in other ways. For now, though, let’s take a look at what makes your startup different (or what could make your startup different if you put these things in place) so you can create a marketing campaign to let everyone know.
Your Vision And Mission
The basis of any successful business, no matter what sector or niche it might be in, is always its vision and mission. These things are what drive your business (and what drives you to work hard within that business), and you can often use them in all kinds of ways, including in your marketing, because they’ll be different from what many other business owners have in mind. After all, they didn’t start your business - you did.
So what is it that your specific startup wants to achieve? Why does it exist? What are its values? What is the most important thing it can do for its customers? Asking these questions is easy; answering them is often much harder, but no matter how difficult it might be, those answers have to come. Unless they do, you’re not going to be able to truly differentiate your business, and it will end up being the same as all the rest, which doesn’t bode well for persuading new customers to buy from you. Why should they when you’re no different from the business they’re using right now?
Once you’ve worked out what your values and mission are, they can become your startup’s unique identity, and that’s not only useful for your potential customers (it helps them have a reason to use you rather than someone else), but for you too - it’s something to stick to and work towards.
It might seem quite obvious to say that if you want your startup to be different, you need to do different things, but it’s one of those ideas that’s so obvious you might not have thought about it!
When you’re starting a business, it’s easy to use other people’s ideas as a jumping-off point for your own - you’ll see how your competitors do things, and that can give you a good grounding when it comes to working things out for yourself. It makes sense, and it’s a good way to begin.
However, as much as it will give you ideas and help you get started, using your competitors in this way isn’t a great idea in the long run because you’re going to simply become a carbon copy of them, and that’s the complete opposite of what you should be trying to do.
What’s best is to think of those ideas as your foundation but then be as innovative as you can when you’re building the rest of the business around it. To help work out how to be innovative, it’s really a question of knowing how your business does things in a way that others don’t, and understanding what tools and technology you might need to ensure that’s the case.
Whether you’re using great technology like workforce scheduling software that ensures your projects are managed properly with the right people and equipment in the right places at the right time, for example, or you’ve put together a completely disruptive business model that takes everything everyone knows and turns it on its head, the point is that this innovation is going to make you stand out. Make sure it works well, however, otherwise all that hard work will be for nothing, and you’ll end up with a bad reputation and unhappy customers instead of the success you’re working towards.
Be All About Your Customers
If you’re completely honest about why you started your business or came up with the idea if you’ve not yet launched, the answer is likely to be because you wanted to make money and be successful. You wanted to have a business that you could be proud of. It’s fine to think like that - it makes a lot of sense because most people will put themselves first, and there’s no shame in it.
The trick is not to let those feelings and reasons show. The trick is to never let your customers know that you’re there for you and your future, not theirs. The trick, in other words, is to make it seem as though you’re putting your customers first at all times, even if you’re always keeping at least one eye on your own needs. And as we said, there’s nothing wrong with that.
In fact, your customers are going to love it because they’ll feel special and as though you’re taking care of them - which you will be, of course. It’s just that the idea behind that care might not be one hundred percent altruistic. Unless it is, of course - it might be that you really have started your business with your customers first and foremost in your mind, and that’s good too; it’s always your choice and your reasons. In either case, your customers will be happy, and you’ll get what you want, plus on top of all that, you’ll be able to stand out from the competition as a startup.
Remember that people want to be treated well when they make a purchase or even just make an enquiry, and if they don’t feel as though they were treated well, they’ll head to your competitor rather than spend their money with you. Stand out by offering not just good but exceptional customer service, and not only will that not happen, but you’ll gain a positive reputation too.
There’s so much more to branding than creating a great logo or working out what color scheme is going to look best on your website (although that is included in your branding, so you will still need to think about it). What your branding really needs to make it stand out (and make your business different) is a story; you have to tell the customer as much about your business as you can within your branding to make sure they understand not just what you do, but how you do it.
So just what is the story behind your startup? What are its values? What can it do that others can’t? What is it there for? Some, if not all, of these questions and their answers need to be woven into your branding, giving people a much deeper understanding of your business and, ideally, making a connection with them too. People will be much happier to buy from you if your branding makes sense and gives them an idea of precisely who you are and what you can do for them, so it’s worth spending time on this - don’t just come up with a quick idea that looks okay but doesn’t really mean anything or you’ll be wasting a golden opportunity.
The Talent You Have On Your Team
The people behind a startup are just as important as the product or service itself, so hiring the right people - the right talent - is a vital step in making your business stand out. If you’ve got the best people on your team who can do the job, keep customers happy, and go above and beyond their duties because they believe in the business as much as you do, that’s a great way to differentiate yourself - not all of your competitors are going to have a team like that.
Of course, you do need to do whatever you can to attract that talent in the first place, and if you’re a startup, that’s going to be tricky since no one is going to know much about you; they’ll find it hard to know whether you’re a good company to work for.
That’s why you need to craft carefully thought-out job ads when the time comes. Make sure you’re clear about the benefits (literal ones like vacation days and sick pay, for example, as well as other types of benefits) of working in your business, and exactly what you’re looking for. It’s also wise to mention the salary. Once you do have a team, you’ll need to ensure you also have a positive company culture that’s diverse and welcoming and where every member of the team can have their say and be listened to. As time goes on, this will get out, and it will be easier to hire the best people, making your business truly stand out.