All businesses have competition. It may be a business down the street, across town, in another state or even another country. The competition might appear on the internet or in a catalogue. Sometimes the toughest competition is lack of knowledge the business even exists! But NOT all businesses are the same—even if the product or services appear to be the same. Each business provides something unique. The challenge is to know and communicate clearly just what it is that sets your business apart from the competition.
Clarity in these three areas will set your business apart from the competition:
Specialization: You cannot be all things to all customers. Too many businesses make the mistake of trying to offer too many products or services to too many types of customers at too many prices in too many ways. What does YOUR business specialize in?
Products/services? Both you AND your customers must be clear about your specialization. What products or services do you provide to your market . . . really well?
Serving a specific market or customer? All-State Legal Supply specializes in providing law firms with all the paper products they need to operate efficiently. McDonalds specializes in providing fast food to people who want to eat quickly and conveniently. What customers are you serving?
Geographical Area? Your neighborhood, city, state, country or the entire world. In what geographical area do you specialize?
Segmentation: Clearly define and identify the customers who are ideal for what you sell. Who are they, where are they, when and how do they buy, what value do they want from you, and what benefit is most important to them?
Differentiation: Often referred to as Competitive Advantage, Area of Excellence, and Unique Selling Proposition (USP). You have one but can you articulate it time and time again? Being able to differentiate your business and communicate it clearly and concisely is perhaps the most important of all. What is the one thing you do better than anyone else? What do you offer that is truly unique to you and your business? What really sets you and your business apart?
An active member of the community, Margaret Maclay is a mentor and board member of Fort Lee High School’s Academy of Finance and is the Executive Director for the Fort Lee Regional Chamber of Commerce. Maclay is a member of the alumni Advisory Board and chairs the NYC Regional Alumni Network for her alma mater, Philadelphia University, where she was honored with the prestigious Time, Talent & Treasure Award for Alumni Excellence in 2012. She is a member of the National Board of Advisors for The Baldwin School for Girls. To learn more about Margaret or to contact her directly, click here.