How to Differentiate Your Business From Your Competitors

How do you differentiate your business from your competitors? All businesses need to create a defensible moat around their business that portrays them as truly unique and interesting to their prospects.

This “unique selling proposition” is always different and is much more important for your business’s longevity than simply offering competitive prices. 

Most small businesses try to copy their competitors instead of finding an underexploited place in the market and defending their turf. This is a big mistake. A sign reads "stand out from the crowd" and support the concept of differentiating your business from competitors

How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?

So how do you differentiate your business from your competitors? 

The unique selling proposition (USP) is what differentiates you from other existing businesses in your field. It could be different technology, superior service, an easier interface, greater specialization, exclusive memberships or clubs, added value compared to competitors, location, culture, delivery speed, greater expertise, easier access, or various other things. 

Whatever USP you decide to focus on, your business needs one to survive. In their book, Differentiate or Die, Jack Trout and Steve Rivkin talk about the importance of differentiating yourself from the competition. Trout has worked as a consultant to Fortune 500 companies for over 30 years, so he knows what makes a business successful. 

I believe this book can be useful to any business owner struggling to identify and capitalize on their own USP, as Trout and Rivkin layout 4 steps to differentiation. They are:

  1. Make sense in context. Know your market, and what your competitors are offering so your USP will fit your niche. 
  2. Find the differentiating idea. What makes your product different from what’s already out there? 
  3. Have credentials. You need to be able to demonstrate your USP. Making unsubstantiated claims will reduce your credibility. 
  4. Communicate your difference. Your USP should be a huge aspect of your marketing strategy. If no one knows what sets you apart from the competition, what’s the point? 

Trout also teamed up with Al Ries to write The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, a book designed to help business owners re-evaluate their marketing practices. I’ve written a blog post about my favorite takeaways from that book, but it feels important to touch on a few of them here. 

For instance, the Law of the Mind: “It’s better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace.” How do you differentiate your business from your competitors? By standing out in your customer’s mind. It doesn’t matter if your company is late to the game, as long as you’re unique enough to be remembered. 

Also important: the Law of Perception: “Marketing is not a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions.” The quality and price of the product itself matter much less than the idea of the product that your customer takes away. 

Differentiating your business from the competitive “wannabes” is incredibly important to your firm’s long-term viability and profitability. So how do you differentiate your business from your competitors? Please fill out my contact form, and let’s strategize on building a defensible moat around your company. 


Coach Dave


Dave Schoenbeck
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