Every company is different in some ways from its competitors. The question I asked myself:
-- is it a meaningful difference?
-- is it a positive difference?
-- is it a difference you can easily explain?
If your company doesn’t tick these boxes, I would suggest you are limiting your options for differentiation to lower cost or a larger marketing budget.
Be different by giving your company an identity, someway that people can remember you.
Differentiation might include:
-- A differentiated product, true with some businesses but not most
-- A different range of services, offer a “one stop shop." These might be horizontal, offering services that operate concurrently. Vertical, services that normally occur one after another
-- Unique experience, training or motivation of employees
-- A differentiated quality, but can you prove this? Everyone will claim to be the best quality
Make sure people believe that one service or product complements the other. Be creative, one interesting angle I took was combine my main service with a secondary service that was required, but the need was not being addressed, professionally. The secondary service didn’t make sense as a stand alone business, because of high difficulty and low margins. When the two were combined the secondary service placed my company in touch with potential clients for both services.
How I applied this to my business...
“There are so many agencies, how on earth is your new company supposed to stand out?” I was literally asked by another agency at one of my first networking meetings. I was so glad to be asked that question. I knew there were a lot of agencies and some new competitors had tried and failed to gain market share.
I remember searching for home health company for my mother, 3 years ago. I remember not finding what I needed. Not completely trusting the representatives, I spoke to. I remembered that they all seemed to focus on a small part of the care solution.
I had already decided I could be different, more integrated. So how would I do this in practice?
I wanted to offer the range of services I needed, when I was the “client”. I needed more than just Home Care. I needed a more inclusive Home and House solution, that allow the senior to stay safe, happy and healthy in their preferred aging environment, their home. This includes Home Maintenance, Home Adaptation services (think of grab bars, ramps etc) as well as in Home Care services. The connection between a healthy / safe home and home care delivery seems obvious to myself. What good is it, if the senior stays in their home, if the house is not well maintained and a safe environment?
This way I receive inquires for one set of services, but these might also lead to work for the other set of services. Additionally, the client is pleased, because you now offer a “one stop shop”. The timing for services can managed with the least disruption and effort by the client. There are even opportunities to offer the one-time service / product at a discount to get a contract for the on-going services.
This approach automatically increases your marketing coverage, the like hood of organic referrals (word of mouth). Make sure they are complementary services / products, that will appeal to the same type of client. Think of packaged solutions, not just your primary service / product. Think outside the box and be creative.
Some ideas, to illustrate my point:
-- Realtors and Home staging services
-- Tax attorneys and Tax accountants
-- Car wash and windshield repair
-- Lawn care and pest control
-- House cleaning and house repair services