Today, it’s easier than ever to start your own business. With website builders like WordPress and e-commerce providers like DalPay, the barriers to entry are minimal. The obvious upside is that there’s a world of business opportunities now available to you.
But there’s also an equally obvious downside: an oversaturated market that’s a struggle to get your business noticed.
There are a great many things that are required for a successful business, but today we’re focusedon one in particular: standing out in a crowded market. If you’re thinking about starting a business, you’re going to have to face the facts: 50% of businesses don’t last beyond the first five years. Our first piece of advice is to try to see that fact as a positive thing. Is the glass half empty, or is it half full?
- Half empty: There’s a 50% chance you’ll fail within 5 years.
- Half full: 50% of your competitors will disappear within 5 years.
Doesn’t the half full perspective sound better? It’s true that there is no shortage of competition out there and that, on the surface, your business may look no different from all the others that already provide similar products and services to yours. But you’re not “just another online entrepreneur”, so don’t act like it. Act like you’re going to be the next breakout success – it’s the first step to making it come true.
To save yourself from the pain of seeing your business drowned out by your competition, of helplessly watching potential customers flock to a competitor, use the following guidelines to help stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Don’t get bogged down by the idea that you’re business is just one of dozens or hundreds of identical businesses. It may seem that way at first, but it’s not true. An entrepreneur is someone who identifies a consumer need that is not being met in the marketplace and sets out to fulfill that need. By following this aspect of entrepreneurship, you hold the key to standing out in a crowded market.
Think about it. If you didn’t at one time believe that you could provide a better product or service more effectively to your consumers, than you wouldn’t be running a business. An overcrowded market can be intimidating, but as long as you focus on what makes your business special, that you’re providing something no one else is, the confidence will follow.
Identify your uniqueness
The first step is to believe that, at least in some small way, you’re better than your competition. The next step is to communicate that belief to your target audience. In order to do so, you need to identify what makes your business unique. What is it exactly that you’re doing differently or more effectively than your competitors? What is your Unique Selling Point (USP)?
This is where you need to tap into your modus operandi. What is it that drove you to build this business? Try to identify the moment that you were “sold” – the moment you realized that you were on to something and had something new to offer. Then share that “something new” with your customers and highlight it in all of your branding, marketing and social media.
More importantly, never lose sight of that moment. As they grow, many businesses make the mistake of trying to be a jack of all trades. Instead, you should be a master of one. When you identify your USP, what distinguishes you from your competition, keep your sights firmly set on that quality because that quality will get you noticed.
Find your niche
Gone are the days of the general store. We’re living at a time when the world is so interconnected that, for almost any product you could possibly imagine, there’s bound to be a market out there for it. Don’t try to provide “something for everybody” – embrace the niche aspect of your business and market to that specific audience.
The trick to identifying your niche market again comes down to your USP, which can be anything from simple advantages like a lower price point or higher quality product to unique factors such as exceptional customer service, different approaches to order processing and delivery or a new, novel kind of business model or pricing structure.
Study your niche closely. Identify the unique characteristics of the audience. Examine the existing competition and what business strategies have proven both successful and unsuccessful for them and why. Use this information to shape your branding, marketing and growth strategies.
Show your human side
Finally, an increasingly important factor at a time when consumers are seeking out the niche and expecting a hyper-personalised experience is to show your humanness. In terms of the customer experience, this means utilising social media, adding interactive features to your website, and providing accessible and proactive customer service.
In a broader sense, this once again ties in to your USP and why you started your business in the first place. As author Simon Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Consumers want to connect with and trust the people they do business with.
The best way to start building that kind of personal relationship with customers is to share your story, whether through your website, newsletters, social media or company blog. Tell people why you’re driven to provide the products or services you do and how you came to run your own business. Allow this personality to show through copy and website content as well as customer service channels.People will always prefer to do business with a human being, especially in the too-impersonal world of e-commerce.
To learn more about developing your USP, watch this:
This article just scratches the surface of what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, but every week on the DalPay Blog we share new, original articles about the latest news and trends in the e-commerce industry. For only the best advice about running an online business, subscribe now!