This One Question Can Make or Break Your Startup

As an entrepreneur with a big idea and a startup, it’s hard competing with marketplace noise. You may be tempted to compete on price, but that’s almost always a losing proposition. Your established competition, whether it’s Amazon, Google, Alibaba, Microsoft or a myriad of other companies in a variety of verticals, has already got you beat on that front. For the sake of this blog and the growth of your business, let’s assume that’s true. Answer this one important question:

What can you offer customers that your competition can’t?

If I could answer that question for you I could probably quit my day job, but the truth is no one knows your business better than you do. This is perhaps the most important question you can ask yourself as you prepare to go to market.

Find the real differentiators that mean something to customers and you’re onto something important. For Phone.com, one real differentiator is a package of features focused on the small end of the small and medium business spectrum. Some might even call it micro business, the 1- to 10-person shop that needs the telephony appearance of their larger competitors but without the cost. In the modern economy, that kind of specialization can be the difference between success and failure for your business.

As an entrepreneur, this is your real chance to stand out from the pack. Price is good, but good experiences are better. To that end, marketing and customer service are key to success. These two fields are your front line interfaces with potential and real customers. Success on the front lines is the key to success on your bottom line.

Learn to use an outside-in strategy and customer trends to guide your business. Until you truly value all customer experiences with your product, you’ll always be struggling with acquisition and churn.

For an entrepreneur, answering the question, “What can you offer customers that your competition can’t?” is an integral part of your go/no go decision making. Let it continue to guide your company as you grow from a micro-startup into success.