Race to the Bottom

Race to the bottom – differentiating on more than price

In the world of startups, there are a million new ideas, but for every new idea there are just as many repeats and variations. Look at what happened with Bird, we now are flooded with so many different scooter apps that you probably have at least two, maybe three on your own phone (I have at least five). 

Sure, there is always room for improvement on ideas that already exist, but often there are many that over-saturate the market and create confusion amongst your target customer. 

What does that mean for your startup?

It means that differentiation is more important now than ever. That means you have to do more than just say, “We have great service.” Everyone says that they have great service, so why does that matter? You could also say, “Our prices are better.” But what happens when someone else comes along and does what you do for less? What else do you provide that’s different from the other companies that do what you do? Whatever it is, you need to develop your startup to stand out from the rest and those are the questions you need to start asking yourself. But we’re here to help you get started. 

Standing Out. Ways to set your startup apart

Here are an easy three ways to stand out in the crowd:

Develop your own target audience and niche

When looking at your competitors, think about who is their target audience. It won’t help you to go after the same customers as everyone else, so if a similar company is targeting young adults, consider targeting young adults who fit other geographic, economic, or align to similar brands. But you can get more specific than that, by finding a specialized niche. In a world where it seems like every niche possible is taken, all it takes is some creative thinking and research. Some things you can do to find your niche:

  • Go to meetups not only in your expertise but also others to help find groups that need what you’re creating
  • Survey your target market
  • Expand your network, talk to as many people as possible about your idea
  • Test out your product on your network, if you end up with a positive uptick in sales, that could be a validation of your market

Basically, get out there. Talk to people. Find groups that need what you’re creating and market to them.

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Branding and Image Matter

People buy from people that they know and trust. It’s not just what services you’re providing, the product you’re selling or even your prices, it’s who your brand is, how you stand out in a crowd and what you stand for. That means creating a brand identity that makes your business recognizable and memorable. This means everything from your logo, your startup’s story, and the voice you use in your marketing. By doing this, you will create a clear path for growth and connect you with the customers that you want to work with. 

Referrals can be your strongest asset

Once you’ve found your target audience and built their trust, now it’s time to cast your net wider with referrals. Potential customers want to know that they’re putting their money towards something that is reliable. Encourage your current customers to write reviews or testimonials to help support the claims that you’re making about your product or service and make sure that your word-of-mouth exposure is positive. In the world that we live in, most people are likely to make decisions based on their peers’ recommendations so don’t underestimate the power of referrals. 

As a startup, your product should not be your sole focus. Your focus should be who you’re targeting, what your niche is, building trust in your market, and creating positive buzz about your company. Those are the ways to make your company stand out and become successful and grow in a world of cutthroat competition. 

The problem with race to the bottom is that you might win.
Seth godin
Author, Marketer