Defining what makes your business unique is one of the most important tasks you can do to help answer the question of why customers should buy from you. Without a differentiating factor separating you and your competition, you ultimately give customers no reason to choose your business over another—which isn’t a helpful strategy when looking to grow your company.
But if you’re new to business or haven’t considered your brand’s niche before, how do you go about determining it? The members of Young Entrepreneur Council can help. Below, they offer up 10 questions you can ask yourself that will help you define what is unique and different about your brand and explain why these are such effective questions to ask.
1. What is the job that needs to be done here?
Asking this question prompts me to think holistically about the users and what their needs might be. Focusing on this question helps you assess whether you have a creative and better way to solve their problems and how you solve it differently from others. – Paul-Miki Akpablie, Akos Technologies Inc.
2. What sets my product or service apart from the competition?
One question you can ask yourself when trying to find your niche and define what is unique and different about your brand is, “What sets my product or service apart from my competition?” It is important to ask this question because it helps you identify your unique selling points and differentiators. These are the aspects of your brand that make it stand out from others in the market and are crucial in attracting and retaining customers. In addition, it can also help to differentiate you from your competitors and appeal to customers who are looking for something specific. Asking this question allows you to tailor your marketing message and strategy to the specific needs and wants of your target audience, which can ultimately lead to better results. – Kazi Mamun, CANSOFT
3. What is the bigger picture?
Strangely, “What is the bigger picture?” is the important question to ask when trying to find a niche and your unique selling point. While it’s incredibly important to know what is unique about your business, it is dangerous to get too bogged down and pigeonholed into one particular area. Once your business reaches a certain point where expansion is necessary, you might find yourself with only limited options for growth. Sussing out trends before others, looking at market potential and then tying that in with the problems your business is trying to solve will lead to a better understanding of what your brand should stand for. – Robin Saluoks, eAgronom
4. How does our brand improve customers’ lives?
When trying to find your niche and create a differentiated offer that your customers will care about, start with the basics. Ask yourself: How does our brand improve our customers’ lives? Try to get out of the mindset of focusing on your product being better than someone else’s product, or zooming in on specific features. There will always be someone who does it differently. Instead, focus on what impact you want to make and for whom. Think about what improvement you can make to how they work or live—that’s where your true value lies. – Daria Gonzalez, Wunderdogs
5. What would people miss about working with me?
Business owners are often terrible at understanding and expressing their own uniqueness. My favorite way to dive deep is to ask, “If I stopped offering my services or products tomorrow, what would people miss the most about working with me?” Typically, the answer to that important question is the ultimate differentiator. – Rachel Beider, PRESS Modern Massage
6. What emotional need or desire do we fulfill for our customers?
Ask, “What is the underlying emotional need or desire that our product or service fulfills for our customers, and how can we uniquely tap into and amplify that feeling?” By understanding the emotional drivers behind customer behavior, we can create a differentiated brand that resonates with real customers. Identify a unique way that your product fulfills emotional needs, and it will stand out in the market. Understanding underlying emotional needs helps create effective marketing campaigns, identify new product opportunities and develop new business models. This question is key to creating a brand that truly connects with its target audience and drives growth and success. – Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com
7. Why are customers referring?
Given that our growth has been driven so strongly by word-of-mouth referrals over the past decade plus, I always ask: Why are customers referring? What is it, specifically, that makes them want to tell their friends? I think this question really gets to the heart of what resonates beyond the transactional level with our customers and offers insight into what we should be doing more. – Lindsay Tanne, LogicPrep
8. If we shut down, how would our customers solve their problems?
One technique to help you identify what makes your business unique is to look at alternatives versus competitors. A question to ask yourself is, “If my company and my competitors shut down, how would my customers solve their problems in the absence of our products or services?” This causes an entrepreneur to look at their business differently, through the lens of an alternative-solution seeker. For example, if your company was a recipe subscription app that helped organize recipes, customers would resort to traditional notecards to organize recipes even though you don’t consider notecards a competitor. When you look at alternative solutions, you can identify unique problems that your product solves and can position it in a way that makes your company stand out. – Nick Chasinov, Teknicks
9. What is my perfect customer profile?
I find that starting with thinking about the ideal customer for my brand is the surest way to identify the unique product quality that will drive sales. So, I consider who would buy the product idea I have in mind; who they are in terms of demographics (location, age, gender) and psychographics (lifestyle, interests, values); and the behaviors of the best buyers. Then I try to define their needs or problems that I can solve. From this, I can narrow down why they would want to buy my product instead of products from other providers in the market. The current marketplace is highly competitive. Most businesses are not inventing but creatively innovating existing products to make them more efficient. So, identifying the unique selling point in a way is how you micro-niche. – Tonika Bruce, Lead Nicely, Inc.
10. What is it about our company that would turn me into a customer?
When trying to find out what makes your brand unique, one question you should ask yourself is, “What is it about our company that would turn me into a customer?” To understand how other people see your business, you have to look at things through the eyes of a shopper, not a business owner. Switching your mindset and thinking about things as a consumer can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your brand identity. As a result, you can build on what you’re doing well and find opportunities to improve. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC