It’s easy to get lost in the background.
Today’s world is a world full of lost things. Our smartphones bombard us with hundreds of ads and articles and videos that we skim past. Our inboxes are full of emails that go unread. Our trash is littered with discarded mail. We reject phone calls on a daily basis.
At the end of the day, only a select few things attract our attention and our time. In any given industry, in any given market, there can be hundreds and thousands of choices for a specific solution. Only a few will attract attention as determined by the circumstances.
So, how can a company attract attention? How can you stand out?
Fineline’s position in the public sector is an excellent study in standing out. But this study’s not only of value to our fellow MBEs (Minority Business Enterprise), WBEs (Women Business Enterprise), and VBEs (Veteran Business Enterprise) out there, but also to all companies interested in attracting attention. At the end of the day, the tenets of standing out are the same across the board. It all comes down to a few crucial points:
1. What are your customers looking for?
Fineline’s main role in the public sector is to support company’s government bids as a diverse subcontractor. For us, that means we need to consider what these companies are looking for in subcontractors.
Essentially, these company contractors are looking for experienced, competent subcontractors they can depend on to deliver products, services, and resources needed for their bids, as well as provide the added value of diverse certifications— which all help win government contracts.
Fineline fits the bill. We’ve been in the print business for 35 years, and we’ve served as a subcontractor for over 20 years. We’re a team of experts, and our expertise shows in every aspect of our business, from marketing, to customer service, to the products we produce and the services we provide. We’re a certified MBE, which increases the value we provide to contractors.
2. Who are your competitors, and what do they bring to the table?
The public sector can be a challenging space to compete in. Different states have different diversity goals and diversity certification requirements (whereas some states have no goals or certification programs at all). Really, each state can be considered its own entity with its own rules.
That said, diverse-certified subcontractors compete with each other for partnerships with contractors on government work. They all have their corresponding strengths. The subcontractors competing for partnerships, as well as the products and services they provide, vary by contract.
Despite your target industry, take time to better understand your competitors. Heading these key differences off in the initial stages of conversation will give you a “leg-up” over your competition.
- What are the solutions your competitors provide?
- What are your competitors good at or doing better than you?
- What are your competitors not good at where you excel?
- What’s your competitor’s credibility (i.e. years in business, years of experience in industry, any awards or accolades, etc.)?
3. What makes you different?
One of the most important aspects of standing out is identifying what makes you different. Considering what our public-sector customers are looking for, and considering who our competitors are and what they bring to the table, Fineline is different in many ways:
- We’re minority certified in several states
- We’ve developed a strong reputation and are well connected in our home state, Indiana
- We’ve been in business for 35 years
- We’ve served as a subcontractor for over 20 years
- We have a 70,000-square-foot manufacturing facility
- We pair “big shop” capabilities with “small shop” service
- Virtually all products and services subcontracted to us are produced in-house
- We have a “yes” culture and will find a way to provide exactly what our customers need
- We’re HIPAA and ISO compliant
- We will not ask for your business until we can improve it
The list could go on. But, as we’ve observed with the countless number of lost things in our lives, it’s important to keep communication clear and simple.
At the end of the day, standing out comes down to three things: knowing what your customers are looking for, knowing who your competitors are and what they bring to the table, communication that makes you different and understanding why you’re a fit.
So what are your key differentiators by industry? What are you hearing from converted clients on why they chose you over your competitors?
Keep these in mind and you’ll be standing out in no time.