If you want to stand out from your competitors, then you need to know where you differ from them and how to use your differences to sell your similar business in a similar market in a new and engaging way. This is your unique selling proposition.
The best place to start is with a Strengths Weakness Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis. That’s exactly what this blog will show you how to do but before we begin, we need to take a look at your mission as this will be a determining factor that differentiates your business from your competitors.
Determining Your Mission
Your mission is what sets you apart. While you no doubt have competitors who sell similar products and services in a similar market, your mission is what differentiates you from them.
By nature, a competitor is a company that is similar to yours that possesses the threat of taking away your market share. But two similar companies can be in business for very different reasons and can operate on very different business models. Your product or service might benefit small businesses because you are a small business owner yourself so you can empathize with your clients.
If “small business services for small business owners” captures the sentiment of your mission, then you likely have a business model that is also dictated by this mission. Your team might be remote and international, giving you the advantage of different viewpoints and time zones to better serve your customers. These differences in your mission are a great selling point against your competitors who may offer small business services within a larger service offering that is directed more towards larger businesses. This could mean that your competitors have a much greater overhead that reduces their ability to care for each client in the personal way that you can.
Whatever your mission is – figure out how it’s different from your competitors and use those differences to stand out in your sales strategy.
Now that we have your mission down, let’s run through how to facilitate a SWOT analysis.
Your strengths are what you do well such as your empathic understanding of small businesses and your ability to care for your customers in a highly personalized way. This could also be operating an international team across multiple time zones that give your clients access to your business 24/7. Your strengths are what define your unique selling proposition that you will use to set your business apart from your competitors in your sales strategy.
Now that you have your strengths identified, it’s time to turn to the least fun part of your SWOT analysis – your weaknesses. The key is to be honest. A lack of clarity on how and where your business falls short against your competitors will only hurt your business and hinder your improvement and growth.
Your weaknesses can be the flipside of your strengths. If you have an international team that can serve your customers 24/7, are all your employees native English speakers? Is there a language barrier that hurts your team’s ability to accurately communicate with your customers? Are you too focused on small businesses or businesses that are too small? Is this causing lost market share?
Make sure that you thoroughly analyze any weaknesses that you uncover. This will help you develop a solution for these weaknesses.
Opportunities are the areas where your business can grow and gain more market share. They typically take the form of circumstances outside of your company such as a new market segment of prospective customers who could benefit from your services but don’t know it yet. Or maybe a large customer in your market is looking to make a change in their provider network giving you the opportunity to bid for their business.
It’s important to not only identify whatever opportunities are out there but to also put a plan in place to capitalize on them.
Threats to your business can be scary to look at but you need to know what pitfalls are lurking both within and outside your business. Is the market predicting a change in service structure or offerings that you don’t currently have? Is the market going bare or shifting from small business providers to larger ones? If so, why? How can you get in front of these changes and proactively position your company so that the damage is minimal?
Take note of what your competitors are doing in the face of these threats. How can you take a beneficial stance while remaining distinct from them? Are your competitors failing to navigate these threats? If so, how can you capitalize on their mistakes?
Business is highly competitive. Not all small businesses make it, but your chances of success dramatically improve when you know where your business lies in terms of strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities and threats ahead.
Need Help With Your Unique Selling Proposition?
Need some help identifying your mission and how to use it to set your business apart? Mountain Cane Media offers fractional Director of Operations (DOO) services for this exact reason. Visit us today to see how we can help you navigate your market and remain competitive.