There’s a lot written about the benefits of standing out, being different and somehow uniquely positioning your company in the market. And that’s great advice, but it should come with a caveat. It presupposes that you have the basics in place first.
There’s little point in focussing on that magical thing that sets you apart from the competition if you’re not even at the starting blocks.
In every industry, there are certain standards and expectations that need to be in place, just to be in the game. These might be boring and unimaginative, but they’re required in order to gain your market’s trust.
For example, one of the businesses I’ve been working with recently didn’t have an “About Us” page or a “Contact Us” page on their website (until recently). As an online software business, these were not considered essential for doing business, however, our market expected to see them there. Without these things in place, the business appeared to be missing something and therefore not to be trusted.
For other businesses, the foundational expectations might include having a basic website, having a storefront, or even wearing a suit to a meeting. Sure, you can try to buck the expectations and prove you can do things differently, but that will be a much harder path.
So before worrying about being different, be the same.
Get the basics right first, and then focus on differentiating your business.