8 Tips on How to Differentiate Your Business from the Competition

One of the biggest marketing challenges for small businesses is how to differentiate their business from the competition. When you are one of many businesses in your space, how can you make your offering different from all the rest? When you have a limited marketing budget, how can you make your brand stand out? The key to differentiating a small business is understanding what your customers want. What can you offer to your customers that they want and that your competitors don’t have? In some sectors, finding differentiators is far from easy. Nailing what is different about your business might take some thought and creativity. Here are eight tips on how to go about making your sales proposition unique:

  1. Create a Profile of Your Typical Customer

Before you can offer your customers something unique, you will need to understand who your customers are. Create a profile of your typical customer. Think about what your customer’s needs, wants and ambitions are. Think about your customer’s lifestyles and how they go about their day-to-day lives. When you have a picture in your mind of who your typical customer is, you will able to see what their problems might be. If you can solve some of those problems, you will have something that your customers will value.

  1. Study Your Competition

The next step is to investigate what your competitors are offering. Look at how your competition is selling their offering. Note what the competition is pushing as the benefits of their product or service. If need be, you might need to do a little under-cover work to assess your competition. You might need to pose as a potential customer to find out what the competition is selling and how they are selling it.

  1. Identify Gaps in Your Competitors Proposition

Differentiating your business is not only about being different; it is also about being better. So, compare what you are offering with what your competitors are offering. Also, compare your competitor’s offering with what you think your customers want. Identify the gaps that exist in both comparisons, and then think about how you can fill those gaps.

  1. Small Differentiators Can Be as Effective as Large Ones

Your unique selling points don’t need to be major to be effective. Something as simple as providing a weekend support service could differentiate your business.  Or, if you sell a product, offering same-day deliveries could set your business apart. The important thing is that your USPs provide a benefit to your customers.

  1. Low price is Not Always the Best Differentiator

The most obvious way to beat the competition is to sell your products or services at a lower price. Price, though, is often not the most significant factor in a customer’s buying decision. To beat a competitor on price alone, you would need to undercut the competitor by a large margin. But, if your price is too low, it will bring into question the quality of your product or service.

  1. Appeal to Niche Markets

Instead of trying to appeal to everyone, think about how you can market to specific niche markets. Look at your customer base and see if you have any vertical markets that you can tap into. If you can narrow down your target market, you may be able to find USPs that will be attractive to that market.

  1. Focus on Quality and Customer Service

Product and price are not the only factors that influence a customer’s buying decision. Modern customers are also interested in the customer experience. The customer experience begins at the sales process and ends at the post-sale service. Make it easy for customers to buy from you. Make their entire journey with your business a positive experience. Offer your customers the highest quality products and the highest levels of service. You might sell the same product at a similar price as your competitors do. Even so, you can still differentiate your business by providing an outstanding customer experience.

  1. Turn Negatives into Positives

When you look at what your competitors sell, think about how you can turn their USPs to your advantage. A large retail store, for example, might boast that it has five floors. A small local store could highlight the fact that everything is close to hand on one floor. A modern, high-tech business might promote its leading-edge technology. A competitor could compete with its tried and trusted technology.


Differentiating your business is not as difficult as it first may seem. If you can offer your customers something that your competitors do not, you can create a USP. Often, the issue is not that there is a lack of USPs. The problem is that businesses don’t recognize the USPs that they have. Find out what your customers need and match those needs to what you do, or could, offer. Then, you can market what makes your businesses better than all the other businesses that compete with you.


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