How to Stand Out in the Crowded World of Start-ups and SMEs

published Feb 09, 2017
2 min read


The digital marketplace is crowded, noisy, full of businesses purporting to be something they’re not and littered with opportunities for consumers to fall down expensive black-holes following the wrong purchase.

As a brand, standing out in the crowded land of SMEs and fly-by-night start-ups is incredibly challenging. Even with a wealth of digital marketing tools available to all, making yourself heard takes time, patience and an awful lot of hard work.

Chances are, if you’re reading this post, you need some help getting your business noticed. And I’ve got some good news; you can absolutely shout louder than everyone else, and doing so doesn’t require a degree in business science.

It doesn’t require oodles of luck either – just good, old-fashioned common sense and the ability to leverage some tried-and-tested techniques for modern business success.

It won’t be easy, but, then, you didn’t get into this expecting it to be so, did you?

Get yourself a great strap-line

Think about the last strap-line you read that stayed in your mind for days afterwards. The one that you repeated over countless dinner parties and water cooler chats.

The chances are, it’ll have been incredibly inventive, a little bit spiky and utterly compelling.

You need a strap-line like that for your business, and you’ll know you’ve found it when an equal proportion of love and hate for the collection of words you’ve designed comes your way.

Develop a social media persona

The modern business can be very careless with its social media presence. It’ll either be left to rot or consist of a bunch of re-tweets featuring vaguely related content whenever the ‘need to post something’ strikes.

Don’t fall into this trap. Instead, build a social media persona that is engaging, witty, unafraid to be a little controversial at times and, above all, approachable. If the most prolific people in business have taught us one thing, it’s that you’ll always get a second chance – if you’re willing to be a little different.

Experiment with you social media persona – it’s a fabulous playground for brand development.

Solve a massive problem

You’ll have heard this countless times, but in order to stand out in business, you need to solve a problem no one else has dared approach.


Your product or service will be most noticeable if it has a singular purpose which solves a big problem for a significant number of people. If it doesn’t, or simply copies others, you’ll have a hard time being heard.

Make your business personal

One of the first things I do upon entering a business website is head to the ‘About Us’ page. I want to see who’s behind the product; what makes them tick? Where have they come from? What’s their goals (both personally and in business)?

If you neglect this vital part of your company’s web presence, you’ll struggle to ingratiate yourself with the intended audience.

Create an about us page, but pitch it as a profile page for the staff and have fun with photography and the descriptive text. Make your business human.

Don’t go for everyone – narrow your target market

Sure, you want to make the biggest splash possible and attract a massive amount of new customers, but if you go for everyone at once, you’ll only end up wallowing in self pity while the sales inbox remains empty.

Narrow your target market by creating just two or three ‘personas’. These are fictional characters to whom you’ll be pitching your products and services. Define them tightly, and ensure everything you do both in product design and marketing output speaks only to them.

Final thoughts

The big boys of industry have a hard time being heard, too. It’s why we witness the battle of the festive advert every Christmas and regular high profile spats between the world’s top CEOs.

You’re therefore not alone in the battle to be heard. Follow my tips above, and you’ll have a far easier time shouting from the rafters and drawing in a significant audience.
Profile_pic_guest_blogWritten by Mark Ellis

Mark Ellis is a freelance writer who specialises in copywriting, blogging and content marketing for businesses of all sizes. Mark’s considerable experience at director level and deep interest in personal and business success means he’s ready to comment on anything from freelance writing to workplace dynamics, technology and personal improvement.