What are differentiators?
It’s in the name!
Basically, it’s what makes your business different from your competitors. However, standing out isn’t what it’s all about. These differences also need to add value to your products and services as well.
Having trouble determining your differentiators?
That’s why this blog post was written!
In this blog post we’ll cover:
- What aren’t differentiators
- 6 different approaches for determining your differentiators
So if that section has been left blank on your capabilities statement, then worry no more. You’ll have one figured out by the time you reach the bottom of this page.
PLUS: At the end of this blog post is a link to an EXCLUSIVE US Federal Contractor Registration webinar recording from our Capability Statement Workshop held on 5/23!
Let’s get to it!
What NOT to write as a differentiator
Basically, you want your differentiators to be quantitative (aka measurable). One of the biggest pitfalls for beginner contractors is that they would list character traits as a differentiator.
What does this mean?
It’s putting the following in your differentiators section:
- “Hard Working”
- “Great Communicator”
- “Gets the Job Done”
These are all really great traits…but they’re vague. Very vague. Plus, what business wouldn’t use these descriptors for themselves?
The point of differentiators is to prove what makes you STAND OUT and why that factor has VALUE.
Now we’re going to dive into finding your differentiators. These six prompts are meant to give you a good starting point for determining your differentiators.
6. Product/Service Customization
Do you offer a uniquely tailored approach for each of your clientele? Then you’ve got a solid differentiator! However, you don’t just want to merely say that you provide customized products and services. Explain the process that you take to make sure what you offer fits the specific needs of your clients.
Customization is also great for retailers and wholesalers.
Well, let’s say that you sell a product that’s manufactured by a larger company. Now, let’s say that your buisness offers modifications that aren’t offered by that manufacturer. That right there is just one of many solid differentiators for small businesses.
To what degree do I offer customized solutions for my clients?
What is so unique about the approach I take for creating these solutions?
Do I offer modifications that a larger product manufacturer doesn’t offer?
Nothing beats the original right?
To be an innovator, you don’t have to be the next Nikolai Tesla. You could have simply found a new technique or approach to a common service or product. It means that you were the one who set the pace…and everyone else is just following in your footsteps.
Maybe you could have discovered a more cost-effective technique for cleaning a facility…
Perhaps you’ve cut down your production time for manufacturing a product…
You get the point.
Being an innovator in your industry displays both your expertise and positions you as a leader.
Have my competitors emulated me in any way?
What are some of the original ideas that I’ve implemented into my business over the years?
What is the benefit of this new technique or product?
4. Awards & Recognition
“Don’t take our word for it,” is a phrase that can come in handy when trying to figure out your differentiators. If there’s ever a time to boast about the awards won by your business, it’s in your differentiators section. It shows that an outside party has recognized your buisness for excellence in its industry.
If you do list any awards in your differentiator’s section, make sure they’re still relevant. It’s 2019. No one cares about the one time you got an award in 2007.
Also, if you’ve received any (positive) media attention, feel free to share it in this section as well. From local newspapers to television shows, you must be doing something right if you’re getting the attention.
Has my business won any awards in the last four years?
Is there any competitive title that we’ve held for numerous years?
Have we ever been the subject of a newspaper, magazine, or TV news feature?
No. We’re not talking about using your small business set-aside as one of your differentiators. In fact, never use your set-asides as a differentiator. It has its place on your capabilities statement, but not in this section.
We’re talking about ways in which you can use your size to differentiate yourself within your sector.
Let’s clear the air.
Suppose your company is a small business. However, you offer something that usually, the larger companies are the only ones who offer it. The capability of providing something that usually only big competitors bring to the table is the differentiator.
On the other end, you can use how big your company is as a differentiator. For instance, if applicable, you can say that you’re the largest company in your industry. This alone suggests success as well as a wider range of capabilities. You can even leverage your size relative to your region.
Do I offer something that’s usually just available from large buisnesses?
Am I the largest business in my industry?
Am I the largest business of my type in my general region, state, or county?
Who works for you (even if it’s just yourself) can be a great source for finding your differentiators. You can use this section to boast about the accomplishments, training, and professional backgrounds of your employees.
Another talking point could be if you provide training to your staff and if you’re invested in their ongoing learning. After all, it’s great to know that if you contracted out a company, that their entire team is full of experts in their field and their qualifications have been fully vetted.
Who on my team has a very interesting professional background?
How is their experience and knowledge valuable to the U.S. federal government?
To what extent do I educate and train my own employees?
1. Create Your Own
If you’re having trouble trying to figure out what it is that makes your business “pop out,” why not just invest the time in creating your differentiator?
Differentiators aren’t just useful in the federal sector. They’re quite popular in the private sector as well. In fact, you probably get bombarded with differentiators every day from being exposed to ads on the internet, TV, and radio.
From being environmentally friendly to provide 24-hour customer support, there are tons of ways to make your business stand out. Just take time to sit down, do some research for your industry, and see which types of actions you can take to truly make your business stand out.
What qualities do my competitors have that make them stand out?
What is something usually not offered by other businesses in my industry?
What’s one minor change that I can make, that adds value to and differentiates my business?
Want to know more about differentiators?
Feel free to ask me directly!
- The title of this post in the subject line.
- A little about what you do and your current status in federal contracting (to help me get a better answer for you).
- Any question you have about federal contracting!
Also, did you enjoy this post? Did you hate it? Did I leave something out?
Let me know in the comments below.
About that webinar…
Besides that, good luck and happy contracting!