Don’t Forget Small Business Saturday

Check out this great blog post about how supporting your local small business can have an impact on neighborhoods across the country.

Evans on Marketing

Nestled in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a newer shopping promotion called “Small Business Saturday.” It generates several billion dollars in revenues annually. Founded by American Express in 2010, this shopping day is intended to promote the importance of supporting local businesses:

“In 2010, American Express founded Small Business Saturday to help businesses with their most pressing need — getting more customers. The day encourages people to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The single day has grown into a powerful movement, and more people are taking part than ever before. This year, the big day is Nov 29.”

Small Business Saturday 2014

To assist small firms, American Express offers many tips.Click the image to see them.

Small Business Saturday 2 2014

And to assist shoppers, American Express has a locator for participating stores. Click the image to access it.

Small Business Saturday 3 2014

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6 Ways to differentiate yourself from the competiton

One of the most frustrating things for businesses of all sizes is the issue of dealing with a competitor. There is only so much marketshare, or cheese if you will, and every mouse in town wants a bite.

New businesses struggle to get their voices heard and be recognized as fresh, new, and different. Old, established business struggle to stay relevant and thwart competiton. Regardless of your comoany’s situation, always remember to differentiate yourself from the competiton. Every business has something special and unique to offer. Starbucks isn’t just a coffeeshop business now is it?

The following is a list of ways you can help your business differentiate itself from the competiton.

1) Elevate the conversation. Completely leave your competitor in the dust by offering a product or service so unique it is impossible for your competition to come up with a. fast enough counter punch. Tell the story and let it be known that you are not just a little bit better but that you are doing something significant and special. Something that plays an important role in the customers’ lives. If you are a paper company then go heavy on the recycled papers. If you are a healthcare provider then get the best doctors in your network. If you are a retailer then tout your customer satisfaction records. If you are a car dealer then advertise your transparency, honesty, and reasonable maintenance.

2) Outclass the competiton. The example of Bing vs Google and Microsoft’s Surface Pro vs Apple’s MacBook Air are precisely what we are talking about here. Make your competition out to be checklist driven and you position yourself as a company that matters to the customer. As much as Microsoft tries to show on paper that they meet more of the criteria of being a superior search engine or that their Surface Pro has more features than a MacBook Air, both Google and Apple will continue to win because they have outclassed Microsoft as brands that matter and make a difference in people’s lives. If you are in Microsoft’s position of being a newcomer, the pressure is on you to get rid of narcisism of small differences and stop the practice of highlighting immaterial nuances. It only cheapens your brand and makes you look desperate.

3) Stop following. What creates or exacerbate competition is the monotonous sea of sameness. The
“Me too” mentality as they say. Do you know why people bank with JP Morgan Chase despite them being known for their sky-high fees? It’s the business service they provide that is unlike any other bank. Sure every bank has online bank deposits, free checking and all the other bells and whistles, but what other bank would let you setup a read-only profile for a corporate accountant to download statements and help you stay ahead of the game? Set the trend. Don’t just follow.

5) Develop your brand. Avoid adopting stale, uninspiring statements and slogans. Have a slogan that stands out and represent what your brand stands for. Communicate that you are more than just another punching bag for your competiton. Consumers are just like us. Listen and know what is on their mind in order to develop your brand.

6) Build on past success. There are always going to be ups and downs in business. The key is to always assume a winning spirit and offer a message of victory. Talk positive. Exude encouragement. Success breeds nore success. Get inspired and inspire everyone around you to build a brand of positivity. Customers will respond to the positive vibes accordingly.