6 Creative Ways to Differentiate Your Startup from Competitors

by / ⠀Startup Advice / December 14, 2020
man looking at creative board

There are some entrepreneurs out there who believe that they’ll start making money simply by launching a business, turning on their computers, or opening their doors. 

Unfortunately for them, making money in business is much more complicated than that. For starters, if you want to build a successful brand, you need to look past any similarities and focus on what makes you different.

The reality is that most businesses and startups these days offer similar products and services, and simply being better than the competition won’t provide you with enough of a sustainable advantage. Whereas being different makes it difficult for your business to be compared or confused with others, and it increases your chance of success. So what can your business do to stand out from the crowd and differentiate from the competition?

Focus On One Thing

First, you need to avoid the mistake many startups make of trying to do everything. Instead, find one thing that you do really well and focus on that. Ask yourself what that one thing means to your customer, and why your product or service is so important to them. 

As Tony Robbins says in his book Awaken the Giant Within, — “Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.” 

Focus on that one thing and be as specific as possible. If your company has too much to offer, customers are less likely to remember you. And you can always expand your offerings later down the line.

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Be Controversial

Both new startups and existing businesses alike will go out of their way to avoid controversy, usually because it does seem like a bad idea on the surface. But there are some brands who go out of their way to stir the pot because controversy almost always attracts attention. These brands know all too well that it triggers emotional responses which are essential for generating engagement on a massive scale.

While there are many who may not fully understand, controversy actually encourages audiences to learn about your brand and share your content. A controversial yet authentic campaign can get people talking about you in ways that benefit your brand as it invites a whole new level of exposure and engagement.

Market Your Individuality

Being different is so important in business. If you’re the same as your competitors, there’s no way for prospective customers to differentiate between you and them. So, once you find your niche, you need to cement your place in it while making yourself stand out by showcasing your individuality.

Gary Vaynerchuck, founder and CEO of Vayner Media, has this to say on the importance of having individuality in your business and brand: “You have to understand your own personal DNA. Don’t do things because I do them or Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban tried it. You need to know your personal brand and stay true to it.”

All business branding needs to be focussed on your individuality and emphasising your identity so that your existing and future customer base can take note. And once you show off your individuality, you can choose your unique path so that you can harness it and capitalize on it completely.

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Clearly Define Your USP And UVP

When it comes to celebrating what makes your startup different, one of the most effective ways to get noticed, engage your audience, and ultimately acquire new business is by defining and then leveraging your Unique Selling Point and Unique Value Proposition. You can make clear statements with your USP and UVP that describe what distinguishes you from your competition and sets your business apart from others who are in the same marketplace. 

Most USPs and UVPs are built around cost, quality, or service while explaining the benefits of your products or services, and how they can solve the problems or needs of your customers.

Customer Service Is Key

It’s important that you understand that your products and services are only half of the equation when it comes to ensuring your brand stands out from the pack. The other half is high-quality customer service and support. 

Elias Haddad, company director of Cheapest Load of Rubbish, a trash removal business in Australia, says, “Naturally, when customers are satisfied with great service, they will remain loyal to our brand. Happy customers are more likely to spread positive reviews and refer others. This is the best kind of advertising as people tend to have more trust in reviews from the people they know.” 

Ultimately, customer service will make a significant difference as to whether or not someone decides to make their initial purchase from you, as well as if they choose to return and buy from you again sometime in the future.

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Final Thoughts

Finding a way to define and differentiate the uniqueness of your business may also help to establish your brand identity. For some entrepreneurs, it might be pretty easy because the hole in the market is what triggered them to launch in the first place. For others, it can be much more difficult, requiring market research before choosing characteristics to be at the centre of your business. 

The bottom line is that by differentiating your startup and whatever it is that you sell, you can ultimately create true value with your customers. So no matter how you decide to differentiate and compete with others in the market, don’t sell yourself short or lower your prices and cheapen the brand. Hold your head up high and always focus on playing to your strengths.

About The Author

Felix Yim

Felix is the co-founder of GrowthBoost, a destination for business owners and marketers to seek out great tools. Alongside digital journalism, Felix recently graduated from university with a finance degree and enjoys helping students and other young founders grow their projects.


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