See How Easily You Can Set Apart Your Business

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See How Easily You Can Set Apart Your Business

By Ruth Michel

It’s easier than ever to start a business. It’s harder than ever to make it stand out.

Consumers are blasted with advertising messages at every turn. Search for just about any service or product on Google, and you’ll get hundreds of results. Open a phone book and… well, what’s the point? My phone book is a door stop. These days, word of mouth counts more than anything, especially when it’s projected across the internet. How are you supposed to compete? I think it all starts with a solid business that cares about people.

What is Nobody Else Doing?

Pizza Slice

Ok, so everyone is selling pizzas for cheap. Little Caesars decided to stick with inexpensive but also add another value – convenience. I don’t know about you, but after you wait three hours for your pizza delivery man to arrive a couple times, you’ve had enough. This franchise company came up with a pizza drive thru. You pull up, ask for a $5 pepperoni and drive off with dinner. Zero wait time. At my house, we don’t even discuss which pizza place to go to anymore – we just say let’s get a Hot-N-Ready tonight.

Find a niche, add value, create a product, use a new medium. Whatever your angle is, it’s sure to nudge your budget line in the right direction.

Target Your Biggest Problem

Every business has weaknesses, but not every business actively improves its faults. You can. If you’re not sure how to prioritize your needs-improvement list, then do a little research. For a month, keep track of complaints on social media. Take a casual poll in your customer service department. Read web reviews. Talk informally to a sampling of customers. This is the easy part.

Once you have a good handle on your customers’ satisfaction, start working on your largest issue. If it’s bad customer service, you may need to chip away at it. If it’s a policy you may need a sweeping change. Once that’s under control, move on to the next challenge. Encouraging change within your company will take courage; every leader has felt resistance at the mere mention of the word. However, if you help your employees understand that change is truly for the better, then they will get behind you, even if it takes time.

Do It Right

This may be a no-brainer, but it’s important to emphasize. Businesses just can’t get away with what they used to get away with. Online chatter spreads like wildfire and may last for years if it hits the right sites and opinion leaders. The best way to avoid PR crises and get ahead is to build an honest business that has excellent products. This doesn’t always hit the bottom line immediately, but it absolutely helps in the long run. It’s hard to fix hundreds of complaints that state your product is crap. Hopefully, you can let your product speak for itself – which brings me to my next point.

Exceed Expectations

Gift BoxThe best kind of hype is the kind you don’t create. When your customers begin tweeting about how tasty your tacos are and mommy bloggers start writing about how your stain remover is magical, then you know you’re on your way to success. But don’t get lazy and stop there. Send that blogger a package of your concoction, on the house. Thank each Tweeter and link to some coupons. Call your customers and wish them a happy Halloween – just because you can. (Oh that’s all? You’re not selling me anything?) Catch them by surprise and keep the positive juices flowing. After all, you’ll be creating loyalty while your competitor is answering complaints about a problem you fixed six months ago.

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