Research Your Distinctives

The first key to market differentiation is simply this:  find out what is unique about your business right now. Why do your past and present clients use your services?  Why do they keep coming back?  What do they see in you that they like?

You can do this in two ways.

Internal research - Run a brainstorming session with your staff:  what do you do that is noticeably different to your competitors? Remember that it’s often the small points about a company that make a real difference. Assemble the results to develop an initial list of ideas about your existing competitive differences.

External research - Ask your past and present clients what they think of you. Why did they choose you for their work?  Is there anything special about you apart from the competitive price element? Add this feedback into your differentiation study.

Check yourselves against your competition: how do you differ?  That’s the first step.

Dangerous Questions

Hopefully the feedback about you will be positive and affirming. But what if it’s not?

External research can be painful if people really speak their minds. Don’t let it set you back. It’s far better to get a bitter dose of reality than to depend on fantasies and then go bust a few months down the line!

You may uncover some weaknesses that you hadn’t spotted. Use the criticism to build a stronger, more attractive business.

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