Startup Advice

How to Make Your Business Stand Out

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Most businesses face steep competition; According to the US Small Business Administration, to be successful and break away from the pack, one of the first steps in your business development plan should be to determine your market and identify why they should give their business to you.  Make sure that the market you are targeting is the best market for your product or service. To do this, you must identify the benefits that your business offers, and how your target market's needs are aligned with those benefits. 

These tips should help you to define exactly what your business offers, how that can serve the needs of your target market and how to build a niche for yourself. 

Make sure you know precisely what you have to offer

Beyond your actual product or service, what are you really selling? For example, your city probably has a wide variety of restaurants and diners. They all sell food, but they do not all cater to the same people. Each is filling a slightly different need, and catering to a slightly different market. 

Your local diner probably caters to people who want affordable, home-style meals, while the drive-through serves those on the go and the sit-down restaurant with tablecloths and candlesticks serves those looking for a more upscale dining experience. All three businesses serve hot meals, but the experience they offer varies greatly. 

Make sure you understand not only your product or service, but how it fits the exact need your customers are looking for and how it compares with similar competition offering perhaps the same product or service with a different experience. What exactly separates you from the rest? 

Don't be a jack of all trades

It is far better to do one thing with excellence than to do several things second-rate. To succeed in your market you must know precisely what you are offering and what makes you excellent. Divide your products or services into a few, manageable market niches. You can then offer specialized goods and services with expert knowledge delivery to your target market. 

Identify your niche

It is important not only to understand what you are selling, but who you are selling to. To that end, creating and serving a niche market can be critical to your success as a small business. New business owners often tend to try to identify their niche markets through personal knowledge. But it can be incredibly worthwhile to conduct market research, and survey existing and potential customers to expose new and undiscovered customer needs. In the course of this research, be sure to identify: 

  • What markets are already saturated with competitors
  • What markets do not receive attention from competitors
  • What markets generate the most potential for your business 

For CFO's looking to help objectify this process, Sageworks' financial analysis suite takes financial data and quickly converts it into plain-language reports with industry comparisons, ratio analysis and trend analysis along with recommendations for improvement. The analytical solutions are designed to be intuitive and to make financial reports more accessible to non-financial colleagues.