Standing out from the competition is a key component to success as a startup. However, in order to understand how to build the point of difference that is going to pull consumer interest, a little research will become necessary. Key questions to ask while doing this research include:
What kinds of products does the competition sell? Do they have a diverse line, or do they only offer one model?
What is their pricing structure?
How customizable is the product? Can purchasers make it their own, or is there just one standard issue item?
What kind of customer service do customers receive?
Who is a typical customer?
What kinds of sales and marketing strategies are being implemented?
Customers are not attracted to new businesses that are exactly like more established, trustworthy companies. In order to turn a startup into a success, that business must provide a unique approach from other options. There are several ways to put this into place:
Offer different options: This will vary on the product, but could include a range of colors, a smaller sized product, or different flavors.
A different pricing structure: If a competitor is charging $100 for a product, consider charging $50 or $75. The slight discount might be enough to convince a person to switch brands or trying something new.
A different marketing approach: Consumers hear so many marketing messages each day that they often turn into white noise. However, if all of the competitors in the industry are saying message X and a new company is offering message Y, that is often enough to get attention and encourage people to tune in.
Approach a different target demographic: When the rest of the industry is going after women 25-54, consider approaching teens, older women, or men. There is probably not enough business in that small demographic to support three different companies, but other demographics can turn into valuable clients.
Have a clear marketing message: If an entrepreneur does not know what they are hoping to achieve with their company, then it is likely that they will not convey a strong marketing message to potential customers. Prior to doing any advertising for the business, it is important to figure out exactly what the company stands for, together with long-term and immediate goals.
When an entrepreneur takes the time to research the competitive environment in which they will be vying for business, the chances of building a position and share in that market is significantly increased.