Making your business stand out

Making your small business stand out from the crowd

Alex Johnson
Owner, Designer & Strategist

It’s easy in today’s world to become like everyone else. We are all taught the same things. For those of us that choose to go to college for business skills, you all learn the same marketing and business techniques. No college? No problem, you can watch and learn everything you need from YouTube.

But there is a catch. If you do everything like everyone else because you are supposed to, you end up losing all sense of personality. Every business looks the same. All the owners and employees become faceless. Unmemorable.

The cool thing is this: you don’t have to be like everyone else. And you certainly don’t have to follow some grand rulebook. You are a small business owner. You get to make the shots. And that makes you different.

So how do you become different and stand out? Here are five tips to help you and your business stand out from the crowd.

Find your unique value

What makes your business different from your competitor down the street? Start with your strengths. Try using your business Why. You have a reason for what you are doing. And that reason will normally contain your unique value as well.

What unique qualities are you able to offer your customers that no one else can? Price has little bearing on your business value. You could charge $50 or $50,000. People rarely buy on price. They buy on the perceived value. Build on that value by speaking to your ideal customers’ needs and desires and serving them better than anyone else can.

Need help finding your Why? Check out this article.

Have a clear mission

To stand out, your business must serve a higher purpose. It needs to have a direction and goal.

Have a goal for your business
Have a goal for your business

How do you help your customers? Dig deep. Don’t stop at the top level of I sell XYZ, or I fix ABC. What are you solving? I have a great article called The Business of Time that goes over the true problems we solve as business owners.

Think about why you do what you do. Why do you help your customers? Where is your business going? If you don’t already have business goals, now is a good time to set them.

Can you share your goals and mission with your customers in a way that they can rally around?

Make the customer the center

Be clear about who your customers are and build your business and brand around them. You can attract the perfect customers to you when you are in tune with their needs and desires. Your business will naturally appeal to them and make them want to do business with you.

Don’t let your business become overly generic. Sure, you might feel like you are serving a greater audience. But when you choose to serve everyone, you serve no one. And being specific about who you serve does not mean you can’t help someone else. But it does help the right people find you easier.

A successful business does not forget the people that made them successful. Because as soon as you forget who got you here, your business will start to falter and fail. Don’t fall into the trap of welcoming new people at the expense of the ones that came before.

Show your human side

You’re a small business. Act like it. We have power that no other business has.

Create a human connection with your audience and your customers. It’s okay to be faceless at times. Most of us don’t want to be on 24/7. But step up and be the face of your business from time to time. Go out and meet new customers. Share a personal story. Go off script.

There is a catch here, however. It’s super easy to go too far. Sharing a family photo or story from time to time makes you human. Dumping your whole life story will probably drive people away. Sharing that you need to remain closed for the day due to an emergency is human. Closing randomly for no reason and expecting people to be ok with that is not.

People create connections with other people. Sure, they might say they like this brand or that brand. But the reality is they like the people or the principles of the business. The people that run it have made that connection and built that tribe.

Stand out from behind your business and create a tribe around your business and brand with personality.

Customer service

This point is one of those you hear constantly. Provide good customer service. We all know it. But what the heck does that mean? How do you provide good customer service?

Stand out with great customer service
Stand out with great customer service

I think it means to be different in how you treat your customers. Different but true to yourself. My favorite example of this one is something I feel strongly about: Website pop-ups. In the marketing and web industry, you will find hard facts about how great pop-ups can be on a website. How they can make all the difference in a new sale. You will also find some facts about the negative impacts on user experience.

But who likes pop-ups? I certainly don’t. They are downright annoying. So, I refuse to put any pop-ups on my website. Do I see fewer conversions? Maybe. But I feel good about how I treat my visitors. And those that want to work with me will find a better way. Not because of some pop-up but because I spoke their language and they trusted me to fix their problem.

You can do the same thing for your customers. Treat them how you would want to be treated if you were the one shopping. Stand with them when something goes wrong. Own up to your mistakes. Forgot to send an email? Tell them and apologize. Don’t make it a habit but do what is right by them.

You can stand out by going above and beyond and providing an experience your customers and followers never thought possible. And people love to talk, so why not make it a good conversation?


Standing out in business might seem like a mountain to climb over. One that is fraught with potential ridicule as you turn away from the normal way of doing things and strike out on your path.

But choosing to take the path less taken is rewarding. You have the power as the business owner to choose what your business stands for and how people see it. Follow your Why, share your mission, and show up in your business. Stand out by being yourself.


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