What differentiates your business from other vendors in the marketplace?

Knowing what differentiates you from the competition is one of the most important steps to achieving a long-term vision for your business.

Michael Gerber writes that most businesses fail because most entrepreneurs fail to be entrepreneurial. They do the work, and they even do the work well, but they fail to work on the business.

But not all entrepreneurs who fail to work on the business fail in business. Many entrepreneurs succeed unconsciously in business. They get by for a long time (maybe even a lifetime) as a sole proprietor or as the owner of a mom & pop business. Good location, charming personality, amazing work ethic, fantastic customer service – those are the types of things that will get a business off the ground.

At some point, however, the entrepreneur will have to make a choice if he or she is going to make the transition from a one-person or mom & pop shop to a business that experiences planned growth, hires people, and contributes significantly to the local economy.

At some point, the entrepreneur must start to apply a more strategic, planned, and competitive approach to his or her business in order to achieve a more significant upward trajectory.

According to award winning management consultant Joan Magretta, “A competitive strategy explains how you will do better than your rivals. And doing better, by definition, means being different [emphasis added]. Organizations achieve superior performance when they are unique, when they do something no other business does in ways that no other business can duplicate.”

The crazy, complicated entrepreneurial challenge is to be able to execute phase one of the business plan by getting your business off the ground while also keeping your eye on the long-term vision of becoming a successful, ongoing concern that leverages its differentiators to outpace the competition.

We’ve already identified strengths. You can  think of your differentiators as the precise ways you apply your strengths to activate the business.

Take for example my friend David Perry. David owns a very successful PR firm, David Perry & Associates.

David has a beautiful, resonant voice and a compelling, magnetic TV personality. These are just two of David’s many strengths.

Initially, David behaved like most PR people. He stayed behind the scenes, and he created opportunities for his clients to be the personalities in front of the camera.

In recent years, David started representing clients in a different way. Today, he differentiates himself as someone who will represent clients beautifully on camera.

David also launched his own TV show, Ten Percent, further differentiating himself from the many other PR practitioners in San Francisco.

David’s strengths — resonant voice and compelling TV personality — became differentiators when he began applying them strategically to market and grow his business.

Think about all of your strengths, and now imagine how you will apply your relevant strengths consciously to grow your business.

How will you do things differently?

This blog entry is part of a series of SWOT analysis questions to help entrepreneurs write their strategic brand positioning messages. Answering these questions will help put you on the path to succeed consciously in business.

My firm, 2Bridge Communications, is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs reach the next level. Contact me if you need help dealing with your crazy, complicated, exhilarating entrepreneurial challenges. I can help.

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About Ken

I love working with small businesses. I have been working with small business owners and would-be-entrepreneurs for nearly 20 years as the Associate Administrator for Field Operations at the U.S. Small Business Administration; as the founder of the world’s first LGBT Economic Development Program; and as the owner 2Bridge Communications, a public relations and communications management consulting firm. I’ve learned a lot along the way, mostly from clients who usually know much more about their businesses than they give themselves credit for. The goal of this blog is to share insights and demystify marketing and entrepreneurship for small businesses. There is so much entrepreneurial creativity and innovation taking place today. And while I hesitate to use weighty words like “renaissance” or “revolution,” I do think the world is heading toward a new social/entrepreneurial movement that rewards the businesses models that make sustainable and responsible contributions to the marketplace. I believe what goes around does eventually come around and that the decisions you make as a small business owner should be based not only on what is financially best for your company but also what is best for your employees and your community. This blog will help you bring pleasure to customers, value to the marketplace, innovation to your industry, job satisfaction to your employees, and new energy to the communities in which you live and play. Let me know what you are thinking, and please contact me if you need help taking your business to the next level. Ken www.2bridgecommunications.com/contact.html
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One Response to What differentiates your business from other vendors in the marketplace?

  1. Pingback: Strategic Positioning Questions | Ken and the Art of Entrepreneurship

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