Ways to be different in business

There are many ways to set up your business, and each way is individual to you and how you want to run your company. The same is true of your endeavours to stand out from the crowd. 

So, what does make you different? Why would customers buy from you rather than your competitors? These are essential questions to ask yourself whether you are a new start up or a large established business. Let’s have a look at the ways to make you unrivalled in your field.

Your product or service

Take a look at the features, benefits and guarantees of your product or service and the same for your main competitor. What is different? Home in on what makes yours superior and highlight these qualities. 

For example, some businesses offer extended guarantees on top of the manufacturers’, some promote the fact that they offer a wider range, or they are the UK distributor of a specific product. Maybe you offer a similar service to other companies, but you go the extra mile with after-sales customer service. What is it that do you do for your customer that no one else does? 


Think about how and where you deliver your product or service. If you are a tyre replacement company, for example, you may well know that people don’t relish the idea of going to a specialist centre and sitting in a grubby waiting room. You may offer mobile replacement – going to offices or homes to replace tyres. What makes you different is the convenience you offer. Consider also if you are the only company in the area offering your products or services.


We all know that the people who work in your company make your company. They are the engine room and the front of house. What makes your people different? Is it the customer service, the relationship you build with customers, the training you give to your employees? 

You could be a cleaning company who employs and trains staff to a high standard rather than using a cheaper model of self-employed cleaners. This is a win-win for both customers and staff – the staff are valued for their work and customers know they will get a high-quality service. 


At the same time, don’t forget to scrutinise your reputation for anything negative, as this will cancel out any good name you have. A strong relationship with your customers will reveal areas you have to clean up.

All companies are famous for something, even if it’s a very small something. What are you famous for? Are you award-winning? Do you belong to professional bodies your competitors don’t? Maybe you have famous customers who endorse your products. 


You might think I’d be advising you to promote how cheap your products and services are, but this is not necessarily a positive differentiator. Being the cheapest isn’t always best. Only one competitor in the market can be the cheapest and they tend to get there by cutting costs on other things. 

Those who are old enough will remember an advert for the leading muesli explaining why they were just a bit more expensive (“Of course we could cut down on the nuts, not go such a bundle on the fruit, or add to the cheaper ingredients…. But we think you’d notice the difference.”). 

If price really the deciding factor, be imaginative in how you attract customers. Think of price promises and how that changed the landscape for customers. Remember the catchline “Never knowingly undersold”? This was a significant differentiator for John Lewis when they launched it. People could shop with confidence at John Lewis and most probably never checked if they had got the cheapest price. 


Many people will buy your products and services on the values you hold as a business. Make sure yours are easy to find, show how yours are different from others, and hold your people to account by them.

Wider impact

It’s not enough nowadays to simply sell what you do, it’s also essential to be socially and environmentally responsible. Do you do more to support charities or run your company sustainability? You could be the only 100% carbon neutral provider, for example, or every purchase from you leads to you sponsoring a charity. I’ve teamed up with B1G1 to do exactly that. I believe we can all make a difference. 

If you want to make a difference too, contact us today and we’ll help you make a start.

Fiona Grant-Jones

As a Management Accountant, I have a proactive focus on the future. I enjoy working with business owners to improve performance through management accounting and forecasting techniques. My knowledge of Tax and Tax planning has supported me in offering a more complete service to our clients. My interests span from the ones that my mother approves of, such as needlecraft and papercraft to the ones she is not so keen on such as scuba diving and skiing!

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