Do any of these sound familiar?
It’s human nature to want to fit in and there’s a social pressure to conform. Especially if you’re the new kid on the block. Sometimes we go to great lengths to avoid being different in order to be accepted. Remember school? Only the brave, bold and somewhat insane would dare to swim against the tide for fear of being outcast.
Why would you take that risk with your business?
Or perhaps you simply believe that everything’s been done before and there’s no potential to differentiate in your field.
According to Hiscox and their Top 9 Reasons Small Businesses Fail, the first reason is lack of cash. No surprise there. Number two is lack of planning and then straight in at number three is the lack of a clear, differentiated value proposition.
Beware of replicating the market leaders. You’ll always be considered an imposter and without their brand and marketing budgets it’s too easy to look like a cheap copy. This will impact your bottom line because you’ll have to be significantly cheaper to secure new business and unless that fits with your business model then you’ll always feel undervalued and be underpaid!
The other danger in being a ‘me too’ entrepreneur is that too often it leads to becoming a ‘me too, three and four’. Scared to miss a trick, it’s very tempting to collect USPs from your competitors…
Okay I’m playfully exaggerating here, but the truth is that you simply cannot be all things to all people. By having a plethora of USPs, none of which are actually unique, the message you’re sending is…
As scary as it is to hang your hat on one unique value proposition it’s essential in order to be believable, memorable and in charge of your own pricing. And funnily enough you’ll be a whole lot more attractive to your ideal customers to boot.
But in crazy times like these, when there is so much competition, finding your own uniqueness can be the hardest challenge of all. If you’re struggling, don’t despair, we can sort this!
Because you are. Without question. We just need to understand how… so spend time unearthing your vision, passion, values and personality. Very often this step alone will help you identify your point of difference.
To do this you need to get intimate with your customers and their problems. How can you solve these in a way your competitors can’t, or don’t?
Spanx? Probably not. The license to eat a huge three course dinner with copious amounts of wine? That’s the one! Book-keeping services? Nope. The chance to Netflix and chill on the sofa without a care in the world? Yes! Getting to the bottom of this could make a HUGE difference to your proposition because it enables you to communicate directly with your customers’ hearts. Spend time to uncover these core drivers and then package your problem-solvers in a way your competitors don’t – it’s entirely possible that they haven’t done this exercise and are missing a trick here.
This will make you totally unique in that sector. For example… perhaps you’ve developed a special weatherproof range but it’s a crowded space with stiff competition. Maybe your product could be modified to work for horses or even dogs too.
Luxury express beauty treatments for high-flying, time-poor mums that work in the city and are chained to their desks… we come to you!
A great example that’s already snapped up is combining the cattery and luxury hotel concepts. The result… luxury cat hotels, exclusive retreats for even the most pampered felines.
Same day delivery? Live dashboard reporting? A loyalty scheme with a difference?
Think of Guinness which takes about three times longer to pour than anything else. This could put people off – think of all those wasted minutes spent twiddling your thumbs at the bar while missing out on the raucous laughter coming from your table! But Guinness made this not only a positive differentiator but a way of flattering those with enough patience to hang in there… ‘Good things come to those who wait’.
This simple and concise statement tells people exactly why they should choose to work with you. And when you’ve mastered this you can design your brand and marketing materials to literally ooze your differentiation at every single touch point.
Voila… memorability made!
At Firestarter we create engaging, authentic and highly differentiated brands. Drop us a line here to find out more.