Regardless of which industry your startup wants to compete in, one thing is for sure — the modern business world continues to expand daily with multiple winners, losers and new entrants. Even in today’s tough economic times, the numbers show that the pandemic fueled a boom in startups globally. While this is encouraging for aspiring entrepreneurs, it also means that global business is becoming even more competitive. With many unique businesses springing up, the clamour for clients means that new companies risk being strangled out of the competition by the more established ones, no matter your industry.

So, how can you set your startup apart to thrive in the face of such competition? Here are a few innovative ways to keep your new business competitive.

1. Build an online reputation

Many business startups make the mistake of waiting too long before building an online presence. No matter how new your business is, online is one of the first places to start building your reputation. Even before you launch your business, you need to start creating an online presence for your brand.

This way, you can deliver your brand message, information about your business, aim, goals, vision, etcetera. You can also use your online platforms to convince your potential clients about what sets your company apart from the competition. An online presence also makes it easier to interact with your target audience, draw feedback, build rapport and much more. All these will feed into your brand reputation. Your goal here isn’t to bash the competition or try to position yourself as a superior option. Only concentrate on being better and different from the others, and most importantly, providing the extra value your target customers want.

2. Don’t ignore content marketing

Research shows that over 77 per cent of UK buyers consult reviews before making purchases online. This is the role content marketing plays, as it is currently one of the most effective marketing tools.

Building authority for your brand online strengthens its reputation and sets your new business apart. This is one of the reasons why ‘Content is King’. From regular posts on your social media platforms to SEO-optimized blog posts on your website and viral videos that take the internet by storm, content marketing has the power to catapult your business to a whole new level. If content marketing is not one of your strong business areas, don’t hesitate to hire the services of an experienced content creation team with the ability to attract the attention of even the disinterested or distracted audience.

If you feel you can afford professional marketing assistance, try to evangelize your business the old way. Speak about it, post online as often as you can, tell a friend to tell a friend (good old word-of-mouth advertising) by all means, talk up your company to anyone you meet. Not everyone you reach out to may be interested, but they could always speak to others who might show interest.

3. Don’t neglect the power of branding

Your brand is how a potential client will see your business even before trying your product or service. The way you brand your business might determine if someone will want to patronize your service at all. Whether you’re naming a startup business or trying to rebrand your business, your sole aim should be to create a compelling brand identity that not only outshines the competition but resonates with your ideal customer. You want your target customer to see your brand not as a mere business trying to get into their pockets but as an entity that shares their concerns, values, strengths and successes. The modern customer isn’t only interested in a product; they also want an entity they can take inspiration from.

That can be a massive task if you’re now trying to lift your business off the ground. But with the help of a naming agency, you can enjoy excellent brand development services that will make your business stand out from your competitors.

4. Create a standout attribute that adds value

If you aim to distinguish your startup from the big players in the industry, it is critical that you think out of the box. Although you may offer the same products and services, you still need to find subtle ways to make yours unique from your competitors. To achieve this, you need to ensure that your product or service has at least one outstanding attribute that potential customers will not find in your competitors’ products. Luckily there are several ways of doing so. You can consider using innovative packaging designs and styles as this makes your product jump out at customers. You can also consider offering exciting deals, promotions, and discounts for loyal customers. These tactics will portray your business as unique and outstanding, quickly attracting customers and letting your startup enjoy the benefits.

5. Create a unique message based on customer input

Apart from your products and services, you also need to put a lot of thinking into the message you send to your target audience. Suppose you’re trying to break into a crowded market. In that case, you can safely assume that your target audience has already heard it all — the catchy stories, the emotional marketing campaign messages, and so on. It is your task to tell them something new; why they should use your product instead. So, how can you craft something different? How can you create a unique message?

For your business to successfully tell a unique story, you should make your customers a part of the process. Start by finding out what your customers need and create a message that speaks directly to this need. Since customers’ needs and preferences change over time, you’ll need to make your message flexible enough to suit any changes in customer expectations in the future.

 6. Provide excellent customer service

Word-of-mouth will only work if you give people enough reason to speak to others about your business in a good light, and this is where customer service comes in. No matter how wonderful your product or service is, poor customer service will quickly turn heads away from your brand. You cannot ignore how much power one negative tweet has in pulling down your business in the modern world.

Excellent customer service will also set you apart from your competition. That means training your team to offer on-time and well-informed responses to queries as well as asking for and using customer feedback.

7. Optimize for mobile or smartphone users

More people use their smartphones for online transactions than they do laptops or computers. Optimizing your website for mobile users makes your business available on the go. Don’t be satisfied with merely making your website available for mobile users. Take the time to provide unique features that enable convenience and add value for your potential consumer and customer base. You can also create a catchy and reliable mobile app to market unique promotions and offer exclusive deals to customers that access your products and service through the app.

8. Study other startup strategies

You need to know what other players in your industry are doing right and wrong. The goal is not to copy or mimic the right ones but to learn and build on them. And, of course, you’ll want to avoid what they’re doing wrong. You also need to stay on top of trends and the latest techniques. Not everything trending is important, however. You only need to focus on the ones that add value to your startup business, its products and services and those that allow you to offer a better service to your customers.