5 ways startups can stand out in a crowded business landscape

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The global marketplace is filled with hungry entrepreneurs who want to break into the crowded business landscape. From industrial AI firms and autonomous ride-hailing companies to startups that combat water-borne disease, innovators are always developing new products, ideas, and services.

However, launching a startup is riddled with challenges. As such, having a fantastic idea and enough funding to get off the ground doesn’t automatically guarantee success.

According to a Small Business Trends report, the startup failure rate at four years is about 44 percent. To succeed, an emerging company needs to secure additional outside funding and build a solid marketing plan.

Unfortunately, the current marketplace is teeming with competition. Hundreds of forward-thinking companies could be aiming to launch a similar product or service. Therefore, every startup needs to stand out from its competitors.

To build a strong team, gain funding, and win customers, a company must have the edge over rival brands. Here’s a look at five ways that startups can stand out in their bid for success.

Fast Delivery

Amazon built an online empire by selling just about everything under the sun. The company also offers two-day delivery via its Prime service. In the future, the firm plans to launch 30-minute Prime Air drone deliveries.

Offering speedy turnaround times is one way a startup can gain an edge over the competition. Furthermore, providing fast product build times, quick order processing, or rush delivery can help attract, build, and retain a loyal customer base.

For example, in the volatile electronic components sector, parts shortages can shut down entire manufacturing lines. Supply chain disruptions like these often send purchasing agents scrambling to find suitable substitutes and replacement parts.

Thousands and sometimes millions of dollars are on the line during a halt in production. Therefore, a company that can get parts to the customer right away often wins the order. Ultimately, expediting faster deliveries can help a startup outpace its rivals.

Sustainable Practices

With rising awareness of environmental issues like plastic pollution and climate change, an increasing number of companies are adopting eco-conscious practices. From finding ways to conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions to using eco-friendly packaging, implementing (and promoting) sustainable practices is one way your startup can shine among its peers in a saturated landscape.

Distinct Design Elements

Perhaps one of the easiest ways for a startup to stand out is to have distinct design elements. Instead of trying to imitate a successful company’s product or service, find ways to make yours different from the status quo.

For example, Mountain Dew comes in a signature green bottle. Nike products boast the company’s famous “swish” symbol. McDonald’s golden arches are a familiar oasis for hungry travelers around the world.

In looking at these corporate giants, think about how your customers will identify and be drawn to your brand.

For instance, is your backpack made from an unconventional material? Can a customer easily pick out your sneakers from the rest of the pack in a store? Does your water bottle have a unique shape or size? Beyond product design, do you have an instantly recognizable logo, website banner, or app?

Overall, distinct design elements make your product, logo, or website “pop.” They also help set your company apart from other brands.

Top Quality

Lots of people are on the lookout for bargains. However, when deciding how to spend their money, most consumers want a quality product over a cheap but poorly made one. In fact, according to a First Insight survey, 53 percent of respondents rated quality as the most important purchase factor versus 38 percent who favored price.

“For years, consumers have been trained by department stores and mass merchants to focus on finding deals, and many retailers have responded with deep discounts,” said Greg Petro, CEO and founder of First Insight. “The results of this study indicate that we may be reaching a tipping point, as retailers who have been focused on providing consumers with the quality, differentiated products they want and the price they expect are gaining greater traction and changing the consumer mindset.”

The message here is simple: Never compromise on quality. If you can’t compete with rivals on price, you can win customers by offering better quality items.

A Compelling Story

Finally, telling a compelling story is arguably the most important item on this list. A well-told, engaging story can pique investor and customer interest. Sharing the story behind your business also helps build a brand and can power your marketing strategy.

Lots of companies might be trying to solve the same problem. They might even offer a similar solution. That’s why telling your story is an essential part of demonstrating how your company is different from other businesses on the crowded playing field.

Consider answering these questions to show the various ways that your startup stands out: Why are you passionate about your business? How did you start it? How does your process or product differ from competitive brands or popular items in the market? What can your company or product offer that no one else can?

To engage an audience, make the story emotional. Make it personal. Identify a problem and then show how your product or service offers the best solution.

Overall, you are sharing the message and the mission of your company and it should be simple and relatable. Furthermore, persuade listeners to act. Show them how they can benefit from buying your product or service and entice them to do it.

All startups face competition. However, following these tips can help any emerging company stand out from the crowd.