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Standing Out From the Crowd

Standing Out From the Crowd - Robert Gerrish

Inevitably, entrepreneurs compete for business alongside others offering the same or similar services. Some sectors of business are very crowded making it difficult to make inroads, particularly for those establishing a new business.

So, what can we do to create some stand-out? How do we get noticed when surrounded by competitors?

Let's start by looking a little more deeply into the benefits of standing out from the crowd. By having a point of difference, we are in effect generating an area of specialisation. Used and developed properly, this will give us what the jargon lovers call our USP, or Unique Sales Proposition - in other words an answer to the question: "Why should I use you as opposed to anyone else?"

By specialising in some way (more on that in a minute), we create a reason for others to take note. This in turn (depending on who the 'others' are) can lead to an increased likelihood of
press/media interest, can contribute to word of mouth promotion and subsequent referrals, and contributes greatly to the clarity of message we use in our marketing.

It's not hard to see the value in standing out, the question now is: How?

For a start we need to be realistic. Making a big song and dance about what you see as your USP will only work if your potential clients and customers believe what you're saying and if you're addressing an issue that is important to them. Stay away from the obvious. Saying you're 'the highest quality' or 'the quickest' or 'the cheapest' is hardly the language of uniqueness and is unlikely to set you apart from your competitors. Look closely for uniqueness.

Surprisingly, a good place to begin may actually be to look outside of your business. You may consider your ethnic background, or your interests and hobbies afford you some uniqueness. For example, you may have a tremendous grasp of cultures and traditions that would impact favourably on projects that involve import or export issues. You may be an accomplished sportsperson and use this to emphasise your team skills or your practical knowledge of the finer points of competition.

From here we need to expand and delve further to see what it is that truly makes our business offering unique. Probably the best way to tackle this is to elicit feedback from our past customers and those around us. Try posing the question: "What makes me unique?" and listen for signals that may point to something you've overlooked.

The search for uniqueness often results in the exposure of simple, yet powerful pointers. Bring these to the fore and you'll be well on the way to creating memorable stand-out.


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