How does your solution differ from its competitors?
- FIND AN UNDERSERVED TARGET AUDIENCE: Let’s say there are so many solutions targeting business professionals, you can target a new territory that is underserved with your solution. Consider a fresh demographic of choice. Think of the advantages of choosing a fresh and underserved demographic — you can do this by identifying a gap in the market, and launch a product or service for the fresh niche.
- RELEASE A SOLUTION WITH ADDITIONAL FEATURES: This may seem obvious, but try thinking about it in abstract ways. Instead of inventing a new product or designing a new service entirely, think of new features you can add to existing solutions to make a better one. Consider providing better customer service, or additional functions. This will easily produce a more useful solution than your competitors.
- IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF EXISTING SOLUTIONS: The best way to position your solution in the market is to make it objectively better than that of your competitors. This may seem more challenging than it actually is, depending on the size and capabilities of the competitors. Can you use a higher-quality material? Can you make your solution faster? Can you offer better ongoing returns? This isn’t always possible or easy, but it’s worth considering.
- ADJUST YOUR PRICING: This doesn’t necessarily mean cutting your prices. You can find alternative ways to price your products to appeal to more customers as well. For example, you can offer payment installment plans for big products, or create new minimum subscription terms for new customers. This can widen your potential market reach and imbue you with a quality your competitor doesn’t have — flexibility.
- CREATE A LOYALTY OR REWARDS PROGRAM: Brand loyalty is hard to come by these days especially for early-stage ventures, but a solid rewards program can give it to you. For example, you could give your users bonus points or discounts based on their level of engagement with your product, such as repeatedly purchasing items or logging into your web or mobile application. Advertise this, and let your customers know how appreciated they are.
- SET UP A GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE — AND FLAUNT IT: A good and responsive customer service makes a big difference in the growth of your venture, so make sure yours is exhaustive and foolproof. Make it easy for customers to resolve disputes and get questions answered. That’s not all. Flaunt your customer service by emphasizing your user reviews, testimonials and maybe even case studies.
- EXPERIMENT WITH SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Now is the time to experiment with something new. Add a bold twist to your solution, pursue a new marketing channel, or find a tangential way to reach your audience. The key is to do something different — and make yourself stand out from your competitors. Answer the question, “What can make you unique in the field?” and begin applying that to your overall strategy.
- STEP UP YOUR ORGANIC AND SOCIAL VISIBILITY: Organic (search) visibility and social media are easily accessible and reasonably inexpensive strategies to pursue. Stepping up your game in search engine optimization, social media or both can dramatically increase your online visibility, and if you’ve been in business longer than your new competitors, you have an inherent advantage.
- CALL UPON YOUR EXPERIENCE: If your competitor is new, you have a critical advantage — experience. Show it off by naming your major clients, publishing case studies of your results, and emphasizing your years in business in all your promotional materials. It could give you the edge you need.
- WORK TOGETHER WITH YOUR COMPETITORS: If both your companies offer similar products to a similar market, why not combine your resources and start dominating the field together? For the independent-minded entrepreneur, this may feel like admitting defeat, but consider the practical advantages of an alliance before dismissing the possibility.
You should be able to answer these questions
- What competitor or substitute solutions are customers using today to solve the problem?
- How are they positioned in the market compared to you?
- How does your product or service differ from its competitors and substitutes?
- How obvious is the difference to your customers?
- How easily can the competition imitate what you are doing?
- How can you protect your advantage?