5 tips on how to start a business in a crowded market
No matter what industry you are in, starting a business is not easy. And what makes this difficult task even harder? A crowded market. So crowded that you can imagine it being like this:
It’s the equivalent of a crowded market. Via LA MagAnd this is not only true for companies in popular industries. No matter how unique you think your idea or niche is, other entrepreneurs are already trying to fight their way forward and become number one. If you are trying to start a business in a crowded market, be prepared to face the masses. But there are ways to stand out and get the attention of your target group.
How to start a business in a crowded market
1. know your unique selling point
Find your secret recipe. Via McDonald’s. In a crowded market (pretty much any market these days) you can’t just be one of many.
You must dare to be different.
Your unique selling point is one of the most important parts of your branding. It’s what sets you apart from the hundreds of other companies in your market.
Think of your USP as your secret recipe. It’s what makes you an unmistakable Big Mac in a sea of hamburgers.
If you approach your customers with the same message, the same product, the same service, the same whatever your competitors do, you’ll be forgotten before you’ve really started. You need a unique aspect, a unique point of view, something unique to grab their attention and convince them that you are the right brand for them.
If you have trouble finding your unique selling point, ask yourself:
* What do we do better than others?
* Who is the biggest player in our industry? What do we do that they don’t?
* What can we offer our customers that nobody else can?
* What ace do we have up our sleeve that our target group has never seen before? Be different – just like WeWork. Via TechCrunch
A great example of a company with a strong unique selling point is the coworking giant WeWork. Before they entered the market, coworking was far from being a new concept. But the visionaries behind the brand saw an opportunity to set themselves apart from the unassuming coworking spaces of the past by creating coworking communities that appealed to a younger, hipper generation of freelancers and entrepreneurs.
Your unique selling point? First-class networking events, stunning architectural features and as much free coffee (and beer!) as you can drink. As a result, WeWork quickly dominated the market and now has more than 200 locations in 49 cities worldwide.
So when it comes to starting a business in a crowded market, remember: Don’t be a hamburger. Be a Big Mac.
2. shift up a gear visually
Whether it’s your logo, your website or your business card, design is likely to be predominant in the first interaction a potential customer has with your company. If these impressions are better than the others, they will assume that this is also true for the rest of your company.
But the opposite is also true. If your design leaves something to be desired, they might assume that it reflects your whole company.
That’s why design is so important.
If you want your business to outperform everyone else, let your design take the lead. Your design should be consistent with your brand, well thought out and professional. If it doesn’t, if it’s too similar to a competitor’s, doesn’t fit your brand story, or looks like you gave the guy next door 20 Euros to throw together, you’ll never get the attention of your target audience.
SquareSpace has set itself apart by focusing on design. Via SquareSpaceJust look at the SquareSpacean website builder. They were launched in 2004 in what was then (and still is today) a completely crowded market. To differentiate themselves from the millions of other options, SquareSpace focused on design – both in their own brand and in the design options they offered their users.
Did the design oriented strategy work? Absolutely. SquareSpace now has nearly 600 employees in offices in New York City, Portland and Dublin. Their membership has already passed the million mark. Experts estimate that 1000 new users register every day.
If you want people to invest in your business, you need to invest in your design. If you’re not a designer or don’t have one on your team, hire a professional designer (from 99designs, for example) to ensure that your brand looks far better than your competitors.
3. pay attention to comfort
Your clients are probably busy. And even if they are not busy, they don’t want to do business with brands that complicate everything. Make people choose you by making things as easy as possible for them. Seriously, there is hardly anything that people love as much as comfort.
Find ways to make your customers’ lives easier (and be more comfortable than your competitors). If you have an online store, offer the fastest and easiest payment process in the country. If you offer copywriting, make the customer briefing simple enough for a 4 year old to fill out. If you have an etsy-shop for your brand, make it easy for customers to place individual orders.
Venmo is the easiest way to send money to friends. And that’s why they are so successful. Via Venmo.Venmo is a perfect example of how convenience can lead to success. They started in one of the most crowded markets in the tech sector, with countless companies trying to fight their way to the top. But Venmo differed by making their platform so simple that even my grandma could use it. It’s free of unnecessary frills, which makes payments very easy.
Focusing on convenience was clearly the right decision. Venmo is now on its way to processing $20 billion worth of payments per year.
The moral of the story: the more comfortable you are to work with, the more people want to work with you. And the more people want to work with you, the better your company will succeed in a crowded market.
4. make sure it’s about more than just you
As an entrepreneur it is your responsibility to provide customers with great products and services. But if you want to stand out from the competition, show your customers what else is important to you.
Customers are becoming increasingly concerned about doing business with a company that is socially and environmentally responsible. They need to understand that you are not only doing good for them, but also for the world.
Do you donate a percentage of your sales to an organization you care about? Are you a green company that does everything in its power to reduce its carbon footprint? Do you give something back to your community? This is all information that your customers should know.
When it comes to sustainability, Patagonia puts its words into action. Via REI. Just look at Patagonia. The company, which sells high-quality outdoor clothing, focuses its marketing on its commitment to environmental sustainability. Not only did this help them differentiate themselves from other outdoor brands, but it directly addressed their target audience, which helped them increase sales during the recession when most retailers were struggling.
When customers have the choice of working with a company that is great or a company that is great and trying to make the world a better place, they will always choose the latter. Be that company.
5. take care of your customers
It sounds so simple. If you want your business to start in a crowded market under cheers, take care of your customers.
The sad truth is that most of your competitors don’t. For some incomprehensible reason, good old customer service seems to be becoming increasingly rare. And the customers? Yes, they are not very happy about it. If I had a euro for every time I spent an hour on hold with a customer service representative…
Show your customers that you care about them and you are light years ahead of most companies.
Try your best to show your customers that you are the kind of company that really cares. Make your customer service the best in the industry. Make the process of returning goods as simple and painless as possible. If a customer has a negative experience, do everything you can to make up for it. Maybe offer additional incentives like discount codes or coupons.
When it comes to customer service, Apple’s Genius Bar is, well, genius. Via Apple. Check out Apple. In the world’s undisputedly most crowded and competitive market, they’ve established themselves as industry leaders for many reasons – including their dedication to customer service.
Apple has set new standards in customer service with its Genius Bar, a service where Apple customers can talk face-to-face with a “computer genius” who will answer any questions or solve any problems during a visit. This level of customer service puts them light years ahead of the competition and continues to make them the most successful technology company in the world.
Taking care of your customers will ensure that you are in a different league to your competitors and help you stand out in a crowded market. Or, in other words, if you take care of your customers, they will take care of you.
Leave the crowd behind you!
Unfortunately, you can’t change the fact that we live in a crowded business world. But you can make your start even more successful by following these five tips. So get to work. Fight your way through the crowd. Establish yourself as the greatest, most unique brand the world has ever seen.
How about you? Do you have any tips on how to start a business in a crowded market? Tell us in the comments!