How to Stand Out From the Competition

When it comes to positioning your business, every entrepreneur believes that they have something special. In reality, very few ideas are actually unique. More often, you have more competition than you realize. Competition comes in various forms. For example, direct competition offers the same products/services while indirect competition comes from products/services that are similar and could be substituted.

Even though your product or service may not be one of a kind, the good news is there are other ways to compete. How do you decide how to compete with the competition? How do you determine how to differentiate yourself from the competition?

Analyze the Competition

The first step to understanding your competition is to research and analyze.

  • Who is the competition?
  • What is the competition offering?
  • Who is the competition selling to?
  • How do they price their products or services?
  • How do they market their products or services?
  • What are the benefits of the products or services?
  • What are the company’s strengths vs. weaknesses?

Create a Position Map

Once you have a better understanding of the competition and the market, you are in a better position to compare and contrast your business with the competition. A position map is a helpful tool that can be used to make a systematic comparison of your company to your competitors.

To create a position map, rate yourself and the competition from very poor, poor, average, good, and very good on the key competitive factors. Map these ratings on a position map to get a better idea of how you compare.

A few competitive factors may include:

  • Product design
  • Buyer’s experience
  • Customer relations
  • Brand value
  • Price level

Curious about what a position map looks like? Download the GrowthWheel Guide.

Market Position

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Ways to be Better Than the Competition in the Red Ocean

Let’s take a closer look at these five competitive factors and how you can strengthen your competitive position:

  • Product design: Stand with superior product design, higher quality, better functionality, better technology, better aesthetics, and user-friendliness.
  • Buyer’s experience: Create a better buying experience through easy purchase and delivery, product tutorials or guidance, follow-ups on purchases, support or maintenance, etc.
  • Customer relations: Create long-lasting customer relationships through continuous communications, listening to their needs, earning their trust, etc.
  • Brand value: Create a brand with a strong identity that is attractive or aligns with the customer’s values.
  • Price Level: Offer a better price or offer rebates. 

It is all about choosing where your business will be better and best aligned to compete. Even though being the best in one area makes sense, it can be difficult to maintain. If you find something that is working, the competition will likely follow suit and you have to continuously find ways to improve. Or worse, you may end up the cheapest with the least profitability and sustainability.

Ways to Be Different Than the Competition in the Blue Ocean

Instead of being cheaper or better, being different requires moving to a spot with competition, the Blue Ocean. Being different is better than being the best or cheapest.

By positioning yourself in the blue ocean, you design your products and services in a way that is outside the norm for the industry. Perhaps, you revisit the position map, identify new factors that are important to customers, and focus on those.

What are a few ways to find a blue ocean?

  • Broaden the industry definition by creating a new market by going beyond the traditional limits of your industry or joining several industries into one.
  • Look for customer segments that have been overlooked or identify a niche.
  • Broaden the product definition by finding a new way of compiling your products/services or combining the delivery of both the product and service. Perhaps, you can create a total solution that serves more needs than just one.


Whether you choose to be the best in the red ocean or be different in the blue ocean, there are ways to succeed and examples of great companies either way. The important thing is to learn from your competition and identify the best ways to be like the competition and the best ways to stand out from the competition.

Want to learn more?

Read Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. With over one million copies sold worldwide, this is a must-read business book and is considered a new business strategy classic.

Getting Started with GrowthWheel

If you need help with segmentation, the first step is connecting with a GrowthWheel Advisor. Mark Johnson, the Executive Director of the Technology Innovation Center, is a Certified GrowthWheel® Business Advisor.

Once you have connected with an advisor, he/she will send you a 360 screening. After completing the screening, your GrowthWheel Advisor will recommend decision sheets to help guide decision making and create a 30-60-90 action plan that outlines the decisions and timeline.

Send us a message today to get started!