Whether you own a dance studio, run a car wash, or sell boutique items, you more than likely have a business competitor or two. Very few businesses out there offer an entirely unique product or service, and most businesses must compete with other area businesses offering what is essentially the same product. Those running online stores or offering online services have even more competition, and this becomes more and more apparent as new online businesses continue to sprout up every day.
So how does a business overcome all of this competition? The answer is to stand out! By doing something unique, you can easily grow your business despite the hundreds of competitors out there. However, in a sea of similar companies offering similar options, how to be unique can be quite the challenge.
Many companies will resort to lowering prices in order to compete with other businesses. Unfortunately, this has the tendency to lower the value of their services and/or products. It also introduces the possibility of a race-to-the-bottom situation where area businesses continually lower their prices in order to compete with others until, eventually, nobody is making much of a profit. Clearly, neither of these situations is ideal, so while competitive pricing can be a good tool when used wisely and in moderation, it should not be your company's only way to stand out in a crowd.
Fortunately, there are other ways to gain and retain business. The key to doing this is to add value to your current services. This can be done in many ways, including:
- Customer Loyalty Programs — Offer your loyal customers something special in return for their regular business. This might be a special gift or a special event offered to loyal customers only. Whatever you choose, make sure it's in line with what your customer will like and value.
- Free Events — Offering free events to the public is a great way to bring in new customers and reward current ones. These events should match your business. This could mean a toy shop offering a children's concert, a bike shop conducting a group bicycle tour, or a restaurant putting together an ice cream social for guests to enjoy after their meal.
- Education — Companies who sell a product should consider offering their customers education on how to use and care for their items. This is especially true for anyone in the business of selling electronics—which tend to frustrate some consumers—but it could also apply to a number of other products and even some services. Some examples of services offering education include a dance studio offering parents a lesson on how to help their young dancer practice at home, or an appliance repair company offering a workshop on how to properly maintain a refrigerator.
- Added Functionality — People in the business of manufacturing their own products should consider adding an extra level of functionality to their products. This could mean adding a kickstand to your already awesome phone case, or it could mean completely redesigning that bag or backpack. By considering what your customers might need to get out of your product and creating a high-quality item that offers exactly that, you are sure to gain business.
Banner Pens are a perfect example of a product becoming successful due to a unique offering.
When promotional pull out banner pens came about, almost all promotional pens on the market offered very little advertising space. Retractable Banner Pens offered customers a way to put all of their information on a pen in a novel, easy-to-read manner. This was just different enough to set the Banner Pens business apart from the rest and bring in thousands of customers in search of high-quality, novel, promotional products that could display all of their customized information.
By thinking outside of the box and offering your customers something more than the competition, you too can see some amazing success.