aka, Are You the Bruce Wayne of Small Business?
If there’s one thing Bruce Wayne does well, it’s differentiate.
The fictional Wayne Enterprises encompasses at least 31 known umbrella entities across an impressive variety of industries. From oil to healthcare, food to construction, and mining to biotech, Bruce Wayne has his hand in everything.
Oh, and he’s also Batman—and this is where he really shines.
For a guy without a single superpower, Batman gets a lot done. Gotham, a city immersed in a culture of corruption, can (and does) produce some of the most vile criminals in his superhero universe. Since Batman’s abilities don’t come naturally, Bruce Wayne has molded himself into Gotham’s crime fighter-in-residence by developing a strong sense of values that guide him toward his purpose.
And, he’s got a team of phenomenal innovators.
So how can you, as a small business owner, hope to achieve a similar modicum of success?
According to Money Magazine, Bruce Wayne’s fortune is estimated at $9.2 billion, so unless you’re one of the world’s 2,210 unicorns, you probably won’t reach that level of wealth, but there are a few things you can do to differentiate your brand and rise above your industry’s pack.
- Be responsive.
You know what it feels like to get lost in a needlessly complicated phone tree, or send out an email inquiry, just to be ignored for days (or weeks) on end. If you’re struggling to understand why your business isn’t successful when your competition seems to be doing just fine, it may be a simple matter of refining your communication style.
Reassuring clients with prompt, courteous responses that speak to their individual needs is a rare and valuable service that will set you apart from the countless others vying for consumer attention in the same marketspace.
And don’t forget to respond to all the points presented to you. Don’t be the guy who only answers one part of a three-part question, leaving your client wondering if you’re paying attention.
- Offer a superior quality product
Being there when your customers call is only part of the job. Until you prove otherwise, your business looks exactly the same as the competition in your prospects’ eyes. By far, the best way to differentiate your business from the clones is to produce a superior product or service. If you sell tangible products, don’t use low-cost parts from the reject pile. Sure, it’s cheaper in the short term and looks great on the P&L, but if your product looks like junk and acts like junk, customers will remember that you produce junk and, eventually, they’ll stop buying.
- Never stop innovating
OK, you’re producing the best products you can possibly offer. Now what? Where do you go from here?
If you’re paying attention to your customers, you might have a sense of their pain points, needs, and worries. Using that information to determine which products and services to bring to market is a great place to start. After all, your new product’s audience is already built in, so there will be little need to market from scratch with each new innovation.
- Show—don’t tell—how your product or service will make life better/easier/more fun when customers use your awesome stuff.
Customers make subconscious buying decisions for two reasons: to find pleasure or to avoid pain. When you convey how your product meets one of those needs by depicting your prospect in a new, upgraded lifestyle (courtesy of your awesome new offering), you’ll grab buyers’ attention and compel them to dig deeper into your brand.
Back up your product claims with superior build quality and a brand story consumers identify with, and you’ll be well on your way to the head of the pack.
Not sure how to write copy that shows, not tells? I can help! Visit me to learn how.
- Treat your people well (employees/suppliers/the freight guy/even your freelancers)
With a $9 billion bank account, Batman can afford to be an asshole, but he’s not—and it’s probably because he knows happy employees tend to become your company’s loudest advocates.
It doesn’t cost anything to be nice, and the dividends pay off in increased productivity, world-class customer service, fewer sick days, and free word-of-mouth advertising that expands your brand’s reach through valuable social proof spread across a wide network of trusted spokespeople.
And who doesn’t love free advertising?
Now that you know some of the simple secrets to differentiating yourself from the other guys, are you ready to be the Bruce Wayne of small business?
Have any secrets you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments below.