Business Bites: How to be unique

Nick Walsh FBDO
ABDO sector skills development officer

To thrive in a competitive environment, you need to find your niche.

What makes your business so special? It’s a fair question and the answer to it is the reason patients should want to come to you and not your competitors. It’s the rallying cry of your business, and what you should get excited about sharing with others as you promote your business.

How to be special

A business can be special for many reasons, but you should focus your marketing on only one or two. Look at your unique selling points (USPs), and the benefits your patients receive, to identify how your business is special.

Potential ideas may include:

  • Expertise and experience
  • Price
  • Quality
  • Fast turnaround
  • Free aftercare
  • Excellent customer service

In his article,’7 ways to make your business stand out in a crowd of competitors‘, Larry Myler talks about the following areas: “Embrace corporate social responsibility. While some may argue that a company’s main responsibility is to take care of its core stakeholders such as customers, employees and owners, experts believe that businesses should give back to society as well. Look at Microsoft. It has excellent CSR programs that not only help society but also keep the corporate giant in the news. CSR programs help businesses stay in customers’ minds, improve goodwill, and often bring in more revenue.

Start a blog. Most forward thinking companies are familiar with the benefits of blogging. If you’re tired of being overlooked online; if you’re seeking a fresh way to share ideas and have your voice heard, get involved with corporate blogging. You can write the content yourself and/or involve employees to regularly contribute. Many companies hire outside writers to provide content. Sometimes it’s good to have someone else handle certain tasks. Caution: Be sure to concentrate on high quality content in your blog. Purely promotional text will drive readers away, while insightful, entertaining and educational content will attract them.

Offer a guarantee. Can you guarantee next-day delivery? Are you confident enough in your product or service to stand behind it 100%? If so, guarantee it. Adding this type of assurance to your marketing message shows customers and prospects that you truly care about their satisfaction. Here’s the only thing you need to remember: you must back up your guarantee if and when the time comes.”

Establish your USP

A USP is a statement through which your business distinguishes itself from other businesses in its sector. In most instances, companies will focus on one or two features or benefits that solve a problem, satisfy a need, or takes away their patients’ pain as their USP.

So how can you establish your USP?

  • Ask your patients through customer feedback
  • Ask your team. We often think of customers first but your employees can offer invaluable insight into your business and your competitors
  • Research your competitors
  • Test your USP proposal

Now, look at how your benefits and unique selling points compare to your competitors. What differentiates you in your town? That’s how your business is special.

In his article, ‘How to write a ferocious unique selling proposition‘, Dan Shewan tells us: “To create a strong USP, you have to examine the profile of your perfect customer and then market your products in a way that shows them you can meet their needs and solve their problems. You can’t hope to communicate in the voice of the customer unless you know who they are. If your prospective customers choose your products, how will their lives be improved? What makes your business so different that prospective customers should choose your products or services? The answers to these questions should form the bedrock of your USP.”

Before you start thinking about which qualities set your business apart from similar companies, Shewan advises:”you need to know almost everything about your perfect customer“.

When identifying your ideal prospect, Shewan suggests considering the following:

  • What does your perfect customer really want?
  • How can your product or service solve their problem(s)?
  • What factors motivate their buying decisions?
  • Why do your existing customers choose your business over your competitors?
  • Remember: it’s not enough to merely target a rough demographic. You need to know exactly who you want to sell to and why. Once you know this, you can get to work on the next USP best practice, which is to explain how your business solves your ideal customer’s
  • Consumers don’t want to buy products – they want to solve their problems

There are endless opportunities to touch people’s lives and turn them in to ambassadors for your business.

Within the world of eyecare, a few ideas may include:

  • Behavioural optometry
  • Low vision
  • Paediatrics and schools visits for education
  • Sports vision
  • Local business support: offices for visual display equipment requirements and industry for safety eyewear
  • Domiciliary: local care homes or personal home visits

If you think your business is unique and you’d like to share why and how in a members’ Jottings article, email Dispensing Optics editor Nicky Collinson at