How to Make Your Business Stand Out in a Crowded Market


Does your business stand out in a crowded market? What differentiates your business from your competitors, and how do you make sure it receives the right attention? We speak to business leaders at the top of their game about how you can ensure you and your business make a positive lasting impression. Here are 10 key ways to make sure it gets noticed. 

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1. Know your niche

“Knowing what sets you apart from your competitors should result in increased sales,” says Aoife O’Brien of Dublin-based Empowerment Coaching. “Find your niche and share your message with your ideal clients. If you are trying to be everything to everyone, then the message usually falls on deaf ears.”

Julian Roberts is CEO of EssentialSkillz, an eLearning software specialist founded in Galway in 2001. He says that clearly defining his company’s niche has been vital to its success.

“Our focus is on quality and compliance,” he says. “While many e-learning providers offer training that can be generic, our customisable compliance solutions ensure that employers are able to create tailor-made training that reflects their workplace. Knowing our niche has helped us to not only survive, but thrive, in our market.”

His tip is to really get to know your products: know what you can do and how you do it better than anyone else in the market. “Also, be honest in the way you communicate it to consumers,” he adds.

Recommended reading: How to Make Your Online Business Stand Out From The Crowd

2. Know your customers

Finola Howard, founder of How Great Marketing Works, recommends choosing three target customers and building a customer profile for each of them.

“The greatest success is creating an alignment between who you are and who they are – in a nutshell, brand meeting customer,” she says. “With both in place you will win every time.

“Understand who they are, what challenges they face and what motivates them. This becomes the basic building block for your marketing strategy.”

3. Ensure your brand truly reflects you and your values

“Invest in your brand and your identity so that you can understand your story and how to tell it,” advises Howard. Consider your backstory, your values and your unique selling point.

For Dolores Andrew-Gavin, founder of Irish Health Hour and The Emotional and Mental Health Summit, developing the right brand was a key step in building and running a global, interactive health and wellness community. She says that whatever brand you create, it has to ring true. “Be authentic to yourself and don’t mould your business story to fit in. When we own our own story and write content from that place, we stand out from the crowd and find people who want what we have because we are speaking directly to their pain points. Not everyone is our customer, nor should we want them to be.”

4. Be where your customers are

“Find out where your ideal clients hang out on social media and talk to them there,” advises O’Brien. “It may seem that no one is listening, but you really never know who is seeing your message, as they may not interact at first. Also, find out where they hang out in real life; what kind of events do they go to? Try to meet and network with them there.”

5. Build a reputation for honesty and integrity

“By offering customers a fair and honest consumer experience that delivers real value, businesses will only ever continue to see good results in return,” says Roberts.

“One thing we hold true to over all else is honesty. We believe in the value of our products, and know what they can bring to the table, so our strategy has always been to never overpromise or under-deliver on what we can offer. This ethos informs all of our strategies, from marketing right the way through to our sales development.”

Recommended reading: Do's and Don'ts of Social Media Engagement

6. Build a strong presence online

“If you do not have a strategy for either selling or onboarding customers through the web, you are out of date,” warns Howard. “Retailers have already seen the impact if they don't embrace technology, but B2B needs to spend time here too.”

It’s not only your company that needs a strong presence – you do too, so make sure you keep your LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media up to date. Samantha Kelly is an international speaker and founder of – a network for female business owners who are building their businesses from home. She has made herself stand out on social media by choosing a quirky Twitter handle – @Tweetinggoddess. “Some people thought it was silly, but I kept going regardless as I knew it would make me stand out and it was easy to remember,” she says. “Small business owners in particular can do really well on social media as they have the advantage of that personal touch: people buy from people.”

7. Use video online

If you’re not yet using video to boost your business’s online presence, it’s probably time to start. “Video has fast become the medium of choice,” says O’Brien. “Sharing stories through video can really set you apart. Make it short (no more than three minutes) and make it relevant.”

8. Make sure people remember meeting you

If you stand out, so will your company – so at networking events, make sure people remember you. Maureen McCowen, a communication and presentation skills specialist who runs Soft Skill Success, recommends brushing up on your 60-second networking pitch and your signature talk (a longer talk where you can give more information about what you do). One way to make an impact is to use anecdotes in your presentations. “People love stories,” she says. “They are a very effective way of communicating our message – when they are relevant and told well.”

O’Brien adds that it is important to show that there is a real person behind the business. “Share your story: what is your background and what brought you to where you are today?”

9. Build relationships

“Grab opportunities. Respond promptly to emails and messages. People will remember this and tell their friends,” says Kelly. She also recommends going out of your way to assist others. “People love it when you help them out. This could be something simple like sharing another business owners’ posts or tweets. You are helping them to reach a new audience (yours) so this makes them feel good.”

10. Stay true to your company’s values

“With the emergence of transparency in the world of business, a good reputation can be slow to build yet quick to fall,” says Roberts. “Make sure that the foundations on which your business is built, such as excellent customer service or value for money, are strong, positive and form an integral part of your decision-making process. Not only will your reputation grow, but so will your customer base.”

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