Small Business – How to Make Your Business Stand Out

Original Article by Christina DeBusk posted on September 15, 2016 at BusinessingMag

When I first started as a freelance writer, I joined a platform that put me in direct competition with more than 200,000 others offering the same type of service. My first thought was, “How in this world am I ever going to beat all of these other writers and actually get work?”

Fortunately, as it turns out, I apparently offer services a lot of my competitors don’t. Between my super-fast turnaround times, quick responses to requests, and willingness to go above and beyond to provide quality work on budget and by deadline (preferably before), my client list quickly grew.

Within a couple of years, I was among the of the top .1 percent of writers. I had differentiated myself enough to make a pretty good living as a contracted writer. So good in fact, I no longer work on that original platform because I’m simply too busy serving my current clients and taking care of their much appreciated referrals.

I don’t share this story for any other reason than to point out that standing out against your competitors is often the difference between growing your business and watching it shrivel into nothingness. Had I not been willing to do things that a lot of other writers apparently don’t do, who knows where I’d be. Definitely not writing, for that I’m sure.

Luckily, I don’t have to think about that and neither do you because you’re about to learn what others are doing to make their businesses stand out, enabling you to implement some of these strategies yourself, should you determine that they’re a good fit.

Have an Online Presence

Scott Bowen, VP and GM of Vistaprint Digital, says, “According to research, about one-third of consumers discover a small business for the first time online and 34% of consumers are unlikely to shop with a business if it doesn’t have a website. Yet, nearly half of small businesses still don’t have a website. This discrepancy should be a wakeup call for entrepreneurs and small business owners, especially ones in competitive markets.”

Bowen goes on to explain, “If you’re just starting a business, you need to get up and running online with a domain and website, and get listed on important search engines and directories. At the same time, you’ll want to make sure your brand messaging consistently translates to the physical world —from storefront signage to business cards and marketing materials. Once this cohesive identity is established, it’ll be time to put the horsepower behind marketing efforts across the online and offline worlds that can blow competition out of the water.”

“An important thing to keep in mind: 45% of U.S. consumers are unlikely to shop at a small business with a poorly designed website,” says Bowen. “In some cases, a bad website is worse than no website at all, so make sure you choose a provider who will help you get a great result.”

Questions to Ponder: Do you currently have a website? If not, what steps do you need to take to get one? Who can you contact? A web designer might be a good start.

Sharpen Your Online Presence

If you already have an online presence, another way to stand out from your competitors is to sharpen it, says Ray McKenzie, Founder and Principal of Red Beach Advisors, a management and business consultant group based in Los Angeles, CA. “In the competitive field of management and business consulting as a small firm, I focused on making sure my online presence was sharp, precise, exact, and easy to understand,” says McKenzie.

McKenzie says that taking this route has increased the visitors to the site, as well as the leads and inquiries, while decreasing the bounce rate. Furthermore, McKenzie, like Bowen, also suggests that “all small business owners make sure their online profiles, websites, logo, and social media sites all have the same branding, professional styling, and message.” This provides for consistency across all online mediums.

Questions to Ponder: How can you sharpen your online presence? What would need to be done to your website, social media profiles, and other online pages to make them more attractive to your consumer? Is your brand consistent across all platforms?

Original Article by Christina DeBusk posted on September 15, 2016 at: http://businessingmag.com/4397/marketing/how-to-make-business-stand-out/

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