In order to determine your company's differentiators, and to stand out from the competition, you first have to identify who your competition is. This is from the section of Stand Out! that talks about how you can figure out who your most likely competitors are.

Next, think about small companies that work in your space. These companies could be down the street, or they may be an online competitor.

In order to find out who these companies are, you can do a few types of easy and free research:

1. Ask people you’ve worked with in the past who else they interviewed for the job. These people are certainly your competitors—at least in those clients’ minds. While you’re at it, ask clients who chose not to work with you who they did go with. They may not all answer, but if they do, then their input will be invaluable.

2. Check out your local Chamber of Commerce’s directory. If they don’t publish one, then call them up and ask about businesses who belong in your area.

3. Good old Google. Google both local options (type your industry, your town in the Google search box) and wide-flung options (just type your industry in the search box). Try several variations on your industry and what you do to widen the search and to see who’s out there. And, don’t forget to check out the paid advertisement sponsors—you might find competitors there who don’t show up in your other research.

There's info on 6 more specific ways to identify your competition in Stand Out!

Plus, it talks about how to niche your small business, and how to use that niche and your differentiation to rise above your competition.

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