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Women and Business

Being authentic to your values and your brand

In today’s competitive market, starting a business is hard enough, let alone growing it. What sets you apart is creating an authentic brand that supports business growth. Nowadays we have more brands, more products, and more services available than ever and giving consumers more options since they can choose or have the possibility to decide what they like best or what they don’t. However, from a company’s perspective, it’s a challenge because there are more competitors now than ever. So the ultimate question becomes “How do I make my business stand out from the competition?”

When almost every business has a website, promotions, sales, or social media profiles, it seems to be very hard to differentiate your business in new, unique ways from your competitors. Differentiating your business is critical to your company’s success. Many business owners know and understand this concept, few businesses make use of it. It’s obvious that if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need a unique value proposition, recognizable branding and the ability to tell a story to engage your consumers.

So many companies find it very hard to understand that what makes a business different, outstanding, or successful is not having an awesome website, an original logo, or millions of dollars to invest in advertising. Those factors help, but they won’t ensure the long-term profitability of your company.

The key success factor of a unique and loved brand is providing an outstanding customer experience where your clientele receives something (a product, a service, or customer service) that they don’t get anywhere else.

How do you do this?

1. Focus on Your Strengths

Everyone has weaknesses; even huge brands with millions of dollars of revenue. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What problems are you solving for your customers that your competition is not?

  • How are you innovating?

  • Why is your customer experience outstanding?

You need to focus on your strengths and build upon them to grow your business. Improving your weaknesses is important but it takes way more effort and time. In order to do it, you should set clear “S.M.A.R.T.” goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely), and prioritize them to decide which ones to focus on first.

2. Do Not Copy Others

Nowadays, it feels like almost every industry is saturated and every market is full. As you might already know, doing exactly the same as the rest is a recipe for disaster.

When you’re finding it hard and struggling to come up with what to do to seem unique, the best place to start is asking yourself the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of your business?

  • What makes you different, unique, or special?

  • What sets your business apart from the competition?

If you need to inspire yourself and create something unique, don’t look at what everyone else in your industry is doing. If you think your business can grow following exactly the same steps as your successful competitor, you’re absolutely wrong.

Instead, look outside your industry to get inspiration and bring what you’ve learned back to your market.

3. Do Not Be Everywhere for Everyone

You have a perfect service or product for someone. Who is that someone? Your clients are more alike than you think since they have similar problems, questions, or challenges. They make decisions in a similar way, and probably, they have the same objections.

Defining your “ideal client profile” or “ideal customer persona” can help you understand who’s likely to buy from you, how your ideal client buying process looks, how you could generate more (and better) leads for your business, or even how to build customer loyalty.

Don’t rely on your team or your intuition to define your ideal customer profile. While you should talk with your team and gather information, keep in mind that people can become biased over time. By simply asking, you’re including perceptions formed during a relationship.

Customer profiling has to be a process where you create a “verifiable” profile. Use reliable key performance indicators and take your time to ensure that all the information you have gathered is trustworthy.

About the Author

Loredana M. Munteanu is a Norway-based business analyst and founder of Viking Mark, a strategic marketing agency. She is passionate about strategy and helping leaders and brands to achieve growth in their industries.

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