With more than 600 start-ups launching during the first six months of 2016 in London alone, it is undoubtedly going to become more challenging to stand out – especially if you’re in a crowded industry. As it stands, a number of markets are already saturated with variations on a similar theme so competition is widespread. But there are some things you can do to grab the attention of customers.
Develop a niche
A fundamental factor for any start-up in today’s entrepreneurial climate is to ensure the business has a niche, a unique component – big or small – that will differentiate you from your competitors. This does not mean that you have to produce an entirely new business concept that no-one has ever come across but it should be something within your current model that can bring something new to the table.
Despite entering an established market with several more established flatsharing companies, our online booking platform equipped us with the means to target our market and provide them with a safer way of securing a room. By providing a unique service that more established competitors do not have, start-ups should try to accentuate this feature of their business that allow them to set themselves apart from others in the market.
A large percentage of start-ups today operate either via a website or an app. While this is certainly popular, there are other avenues that start-ups can explore to make their business more well-known among their target audience. We operate a purely online service but this does not mean that our community is confined to people sitting at their desks and conversing over the web. Meeting and engaging with your community in person is what is going to add personality to your business and show your consumers how much you care and how much you are invested in them. Providing these opportunities for your community not only boosts your brand personality but builds trust between you and your consumers.
Focus on your specific market
This may seem obvious, but it is vital that you communicate with your target audience as soon as you start up. It is always good to be ambitious and aim to take your company global so consumers internationally can use your product or service – but to have the world as a target audience effectively means that you have no target. For example, Weroom’s primary target market in the UK is made up of renters and young professionals, particularly those living in London, and this is the audience that we focus most on reaching out to and engaging with. Always concentrate your attention on your main audience and increase your awareness with them before you consider expanding to address other markets.
Thomas Villeneuve is CEO of online flatsharing marketplace Weroom.com
Image credit: Maximillian Imran Faleel