By Alyssa Gregory

Competition is everywhere, for every type of business. It’s not a bad thing because competition keeps us on our toes and often pushes us harder, but it sure can ramp up the challenge of succeeding when you have competitors all around you.

There are many things you can do to position your business for success, but there is one powerful tactic that is often overlooked: business differentiation. Here are five ways you can make your business stand out from the competition and ultimately become more successful.

1. Selling Unique Products and Services

Of course your products and services fulfill a need in the market. That’s essential. But there are other ways you can position your products and services that set your business apart from the competition. This could mean higher quality, unique taste, special features, alternative manufacturing process, exceptional performance, and even innovative design. These differences can make your business memorable.

2. Implementing a Higher-Price Strategy

Undercutting the competition may be a way to get your customers’ attention and a quick influx of profits, but it’s just not sustainable over the long term. Plus, it can damage your brand by making it synonymous with “cheap.” Instead, differentiate your business by having a pricing strategy that is higher than the competition. Depending on who you are targeting and the type of product or service you are selling, this can help you create a luxury, high-end, and more desirable brand.

3. Providing Exceptional Customer Service

Your customer service practices will not only set your business apart from the competition, but can also help you create brand-loyal customers. You can use customer service as a differentiator by being responsive and approachable, creating high-value loyalty programs, or by offering a warranty that puts your customers at ease. Don’t underestimate the power of being accessible and willing to delight your customers.

4. Offering Value Beyond the Purchase

Many customers are very savvy when it comes to researching and comparing products before making a purchase, or before recommending a business to others. Set your business apart by creating an unbreakable bond with your customers. You can do this by offering special deals for repeat customers, ongoing check-ins to measure and improve customer satisfaction, or related products or services at no additional charge. Some ideas to consider include ongoing product tune-ups, content-rich email newsletters, exclusive previews of new offerings, and special customer-only discounts.

5. Creating a Niche Market

You may sell a product or service that appeals to the mainstream or a very large market, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own niche market that you can dominate. Start by creating a standard survey that you pass along to all past and current customers to find out more about what makes them tick. Then, analyze the data to identify common demographics, psychographics, and behaviors. These commonalities will help you pinpoint a new market segment you can begin to cater to.

Differentiation is all about making your business memorable, unique and essential to customers. If you are able to do that, you are one enormous step closer to finding success.

This post was written in partnership with Progressive Insurance. I have been compensated, but the thoughts and ideas are my own. For additional small business tips, check out Progressive’s Small Business Big Dreams program.