Determining Your Differentials

Being different, and knowing what makes you different, can be the tipping point between your business’s success or its failure.

Being different, and knowing what makes you different, can be the tipping point between your business’s success or its failure. Whether you have already opened or are thinking about opening a contracting business, a handy services business, or any other business, you absolutely should know what sets you apart from other businesses in your category. What makes you stand out in your marketplace? These are called your differentials.

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For my business, Locally Laid Egg Company, we know exactly what makes us different from other eggs in the dairy case—and it’s more important than I ever realized. For one, all our girls exercise and forage on pasture, enjoying grasses and tasty bugs—and that’s why we call them salad-eating poultry athletes. This brand story and poultry setup makes us stand out from other egg production companies.

But we have other differentiators too, and it’s important to be so familiar with yours that you can rattle them off without thinking.

Determining your differentials—or said more simply, what makes you and your business different from every other business in your field—is critical to building and marketing your brand. This is where a simple Google search of similar businesses in your area can help clarify what sets your business apart. Perhaps you want to specialize in historic home restoration, painting services for homes or business, full-service, remodel projects, or you could set yourself apart by obtaining certifications and establishing yourself as a “go-to” for home repair—the possibilities are endless.

Start making a list of all the ways your business will be different from your competitors. How is it going to stand out?

As an example – let’s say you’re interested in being a contractor that specializes in sustainable remodeling projects, uses planet-friendly products, and is certified in green remodeling practices to increase a home’s energy efficiency.

What customers will be interested in that kind of business? People who:

  • Care about the environment
  • Want non-toxic items in their home
  • Are concerned about high energy bills
  • Are uncomfortable in their homes during extreme weather
  • Are higher income

Determining your differentials is just one small part of the branding and marketing picture. I cover how to identify your differentials and customer base, step-by-step, and so much more in my Branding and Marketing Your Small Business course on My DIY University.