With millions of employees being let go and laid off, we’ve suddenly entered into a very different job market than the one we were in up until late January. And while business owners and recruiters now have their pick of top talent, this isn’t a time to take your foot off the accelerator. It’s time to drill down and figure out precisely who you are.

Why Unique Matters

Imagine, for a moment, that you are suddenly in need of paperclips. And with social distancing and stay-at-home orders, you can’t just drive to the nearby office supply store and shop the shelves. So you do what any reasonable person would do and you head over to Amazon and run a quick search for paperclips.

You’re delighted to find that, unlike toilet paper, paper clips are most definitely in stock. In fact, you have more than a dozen options to choose from – and that’s just the first page of results. You open up a couple of different options in separate browser tabs and you start comparing. But you can’t find any differences between the paperclips. Even the pictures look the same!

In a scenario like this, what are you most likely to do? If you’re like the average customer, you’ll simply purchase the cheapest option. This means the business with the lowest margins typically wins.

Now let’s enter back into reality where you are the business owner. Presumably, you don’t own a paperclip business – but that doesn’t really matter. The principles are the same. If you’re selling a product that dozens of other businesses are selling, you can’t just blend in with the masses. Otherwise, you’ll end up playing the “who’s willing to charge less” game.

Assuming you don’t want to shape your entire business strategy around offering the lowest prices in the industry, you have to find a way to differentiate.

Going back to the paperclip example, imagine how different the buying experience would be if you noticed that one product had a video that showed how many pieces of paper their clips could handle compared to the closest competitor. Or what if one brand was manufactured in the United States and had a feature on giving back to the local community, while the rest of the products were headquartered abroad?

When a business is able to position itself as being unique, good things happen. The question is, are you setting your business apart?

Practical Ways to Set Your Business Apart

Setting your business apart isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Here are three practical steps you can take to move the needle:

Develop a Documented USP

It’s not enough to act like you’re unique – you need to clearly articulate what makes you unique.  The best way to do this is by documenting your brand’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Here’s a helpful guide on how you can create your own USP.

Cultivate a Culture That Cares

You can’t communicate a unique value offering to customers if you don’t prioritize employees within the organization. Your employees are the greatest resource you have. If you develop a culture that treats them well, your customers will notice (and they’ll become more attracted to your brand).

Cultivating a culture that cares is all about supplying your employees with (a) things they need, and (b) resources that go above and beyond their expectations.

For starters, make sure you’re offering compelling benefits packages. You should also offer the proper social support and engagement. Whether your business operates out of a traditional office, or everything is done remotely, create opportunities for employee engagement and collaboration.

Do Things That Make Customers Say, “Seriously?”

Every successful business has at least one thing that makes people say, “Seriously?” – in a good way. What’s your one thing? For Chick-fil-a, it’s over-the-top customer service. For Apple, it’s beautiful products. For Texas Roadhouse, it’s free peanuts. For Amazon, it’s fast shipping. What’s yours?

Come Back Stronger Than Ever

Let this pandemic serve as a wakeup call. Let it push you to a point where you say, “Never again will my business get caught in a situation like this!” Let it reveal the importance of setting your business apart from the competition. And if you do, your organization will come back stronger than ever.