5 Powerful Questions That Differentiate Your Small Business From the Competition

A challenge faced by many small business owners -- especially those who provide professional services -- is that they provide the same services as their competition.

If this is true for your business, you may wonder how you can possibly get ahead when hundreds of other businesses are offering the same exact services as you do, at similar (or lower) price points.

The good news is, you can compete. In fact, you can make it so that you have minimal competition, because you're the leader in your field.

And this is possible through differentiation.

When you successfully differentiate your small business, you become the "go-to" person in your field. You start to get recognized as an expert who can uniquely solve your clients' problems, and people become increasingly willing to pay a premium to work with you.

In order to accomplish this level of differentiation, you need to be able to explain what you do in a way that connects with your target audience and speaks to what they really want. To get started, answer the following 5 questions:

1. Who do you work with (ideally)? How would you describe them (for example what is their profession, gender, hobbies, age group, marital status, income, or other descriptor or characteristic)?

2. What problem is your ideal client looking to solve? What are their "hot buttons"? What keeps them up at night?

3. What do they want in their lives, career, businesses, and/or relationships? For example, how do they complete the statement: "Life would be awesome if...."

4. What is the solution you provide? What will your clients feel and experience? What are the tangible outcomes they will receive?

5. How do you get results for your clients? What makes you unique?

Here's an example of how a financial advisor might answer these questions in a way that differentiates himself from his competition:

"I work with business owners who are concerned that they'll never be able to retire to create a financial plan that enables them to enjoy life now and take advantage of little-known tax benefits so they can retire more quickly and enjoy the lifestyle they desire."

This statement works because it speaks to the specific concerns his clients have and the unique benefits they will experience as a result of working with him. It is easy for others to either identify themselves as potential clients or think of people they know who could be potential clients. You can see how this differentiates him more so than something like:

"I'm a financial advisor. I help business owners plan for their financial future."

The goal is to have the person ask you "how do you do that?" which gives you an opportunity to share a little bit about the unique ways you help your clients get results.

Now, it's your turn. Spend some time developing your differentiating statement in a way that sets you apart from your competition. When you're done, enter it into the box below and I'll help you tweak it until it's perfect!