Perhaps one of the most overlooked components in growing a business is the art of standing out. You can separate yourself from the sea of generic businesses in many ways. For starters, actually offering a unique customer service experience that works is a good idea. Instead of outsourcing your service center, how about hiring in-house employees that will do a better job?

If you want your startup to get off to a great start, then focus your attention on standing out from the rest of the competition. It’s one of the few ways a small business can challenge a larger corporation, and it’s the most reliable way to establish yourself in a competitive market. From using social media to making sure you don’t rely on generic products, here are a couple of tips that you can follow to break the norm and stand out.


Design to set yourself apart

Picture this; you’re walking down the street feeling hungry, so you go to the nearest fast food location. You quickly order a tasty looking burger, pay the cashier and then patiently wait for your food. The cashier hands you a typical brown paper bag and there’s a generic box inside that contains your burger. Much like the food, it’s not exactly memorable but you’re hungry, so you scoff down the cheap meal and continue with your day. Later in the day, you find yourself hungry again so you decide to pick a different location for a quick meal. The food is pretty much the same, but there was one big exception: the packaging wasn’t generic! It had the company logo, it was colorful and it was personalized.

In situations like this, the colorful designs and non-generic food branding are far more pleasing to the eye and memorable. When you set up a business like a food service or anything similar, you don’t want to use generic packaging and materials. Make your bags personalized, get some custom-made gift bags, have designs printed on your uniforms—there are plenty of opportunities! If you stand out from the crowd, you’ll get noticed and the extra investment will be worth the extra business.

Go wild, but be consistent

Standing out means doing something different, but that doesn’t mean you should go absolutely insane and do something to ruin your customer experience or tarnish your brand. There are some companies that utilize social media in trendy ways. For instance, instead of tweeting out promotions and re-tweeting people with mentions, they will talk about trending subjects, news topics and other fads, but they will put a spin on it so that it becomes personalized and promotional.

For example, if there was a news article about a fast food chain getting into trouble for spilling hot coffee over a patron, your business could tweet out a tongue-in-cheek promotional message about how your employees are trained to not spill coffee over their customers. It’s sarcastic, funny, trendy to make fun of others, and it grabs attention from the media and your potential customers.