Do an internet search for business coaches or internet marketers or network marketing coaches - or photographers - or caterers - or just about any business - and what will you find? Lots of competition! Each battling for their piece of the market pie. Many of these businesses will struggle for months or years to get their businesses noticed and eventually, many will give up and quit. But for those who learn how to stand out in a crowded market, the possibilities are truly endless.
How do you get noticed when there is so much marketing noise all around you? You've got to find and hone in on those things that make your business different from all of the others.
What is it that sets you apart from your competitors? Is it your over-the-top customer service? Just last night my husband and I went out for dinner. We have a street in our town called Restaurant Row - for good reason. There are plenty of them located there! I think every restaurant chain in the country has a location there. (Okay - that's probably a bit of an exaggeration. But there are a lot of restaurants on Restaurant Row!). Since none of them particularly stand out in the Restaurant Row crowd we tried one we hadn't been to yet for the first time. The food was good but not spectacular. The drinks were okay. But the service? Out of this world! I worked as a waitress while in college so I feel pretty qualified to judge and I can sincerely say this was probably the best service I have ever had. It was so good that my normally hard-to-please husband actually asked to speak to the manager so he could compliment our waiter. Did the service set them apart from all the other restaurants? Definitely! Will we eat there again? Count on it! Will we rave about them to our friends? Absolutely! Stellar customer service is definitely one way to stand out in any crowd!
What are some other ways to set yourself apart from the competition? Does your business offer something the others don't? Do you cater to a specialized market? Are you the expert in your chosen field? Do you go above and beyond most other businesses? For example, last night when we mentioned it was our first visit, the restaurant gave us free appetizers AND a gift card to come back again. No other restaurant has done that for us. That was the icing on the cake.
Need some more ideas? Do you offer an outstanding guarantee? Can you do the job better, faster, or cheaper than your competitors? How about giving back to your community? I do much of my shopping from a particular business simply because they donate a percentage of their profits to my favorite charity. How do you treat your customers after the sale? My insurance agent sends me a birthday card every year. I get Thank You cards periodically from my hairdresser - sometimes with a special offer. My vet sends a sympathy card whenever we have to put a pet to sleep.
It doesn't necessarily take a large amount of money to make yourself stand out in the crowd. Find what makes your business unique. Focus on it. Market it.
How do you make your business stand out? I'd love to hear your ideas!