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What’s your startup’s value prop?

Each month, budding, optimistic entrepreneurs launch thousands of businesses in the United States. But without a point or points of difference, many of them are set up for failure. Whether you have been in business for five months or five years, you have to maintain a value proposition. What does your business offer that others cannot? What pain points can you address? If you don’t have good answers to these questions, now is the time for some introspection.

Here are four tips from the best to stand out in the competitive landscape:

1. Study the best. Look no further than your local market for companies that do a good job of differentiating themselves. They don’t have to be your competitors or even in the same industry. What matters is that they are capturing significant market share. Take Starbucks, for example. They are a leader in the industry because they offer a consistent experience and comfortable atmosphere.

2. Think benefits, not features. This is sales 101. Consumers don’t really care about X or Y feature. Instead they want to know how your dog walking service can save people time and allow for more time with their family.

3. Get emotional. People are often motivated by emotional or gut feelings. Though logic enters into the equation, ultimately they are compelled by a visceral drive. For example, if you are a personal trainer, you can tap into peoples’ desire to look and feel better.

4. Explore motivations. Why do people choose you over a competitor? You might conduct customer surveys and polls to glean this insight. Keep your eyes and ears open and tune into social media to monitor feedback. By tapping into customers’ insights and opinions, you can improve and innovate to become more successful.

What one tip (or multiple tips) can you embrace to gain a competitive edge?

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