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October 02, 2018 3 min read

Have you ever wondered what makes a business thrive?Of course, quality products and services form the foundation of any successful business. But there's almost always something unique that gives a business an edge.Some restaurants succeed solely because of their location. Some companies make it big because they invented something that no one had ever done before. Other businesses may do well because there's little to no competition nearby.Even home designers and craftsmen have their advantages. But not all of them succeed for the same reasons.What makes you stand out as a designer? Here are 5 ways to find and channel your competitive advantage!

1. Identify Your Strengths & Weaknesses

The easiest way to hone in on your competitive advantage is to figure out what you're already doing right.What are you doing that's better and more innovative than other designers and makers? What is it that sets you apart from others in the eyes of your customers? Which unique skills and qualities do you possess?Maybe you've done a stellar job at marketing your services and products online. Perhaps you have a big social media following. Or, it could be that your location is what helps drive a lot of your sales.As you self-reflect, be honest with yourself. In addition to identifying your strengths, look into the areas where you can improve.

2. Take Advantage of Your Opportunities

There may be opportunities that can give you an edge if you take advantage of them. Identifying these opportunities can entail hours of research... but it's certainly worth it all in the end.Which products are currently trending in the marketplace? If you have the skills and resources to make them, you could add the products to your inventory. That doesn’t mean you should try to recreate every trending product. But if it serves your brand in a beneficial way, it’s something worth investing time and money into.You may already market your business when certain holidays roll around. But there may be other opportunities to showcase your work, such as art shows or festivals.Your research should show you what's trending - but it should also show you what's not. Ideas that are still in the dark are great opportunities you can capitalize on.

3. Know Your Competition

The things that threaten your business play into your competitive advantage.What are the striking differences between your competition and your own business? What does your competition do that seems to contribute to their success?At the same time, you'll want to look into how unique your strengths really are. If your competition can easily replicate them, you'll need to figure out how to stay ahead.Your competition isn't your only threat. There may be things happening in the marketplace that are out of your control.For example, let's say you make a popular product made from an imported material. Suddenly the cost of that product goes up, and you'd need to adjust your prices to cover the costs. You could then consider using a more cost-effective material of the same (or better) quality.

4. Stay in the Loop

Your ability to identify threats and opportunities will depend on how involved you are in the industry. If you aren't in the loop, you simply won't know what's trending and whose capitalizing.As established in our last point, keeping tabs on your competition is important. But it's also vital to pay attention to your industry as a whole.What are the leading designers creating and innovating? What are design websites and magazines showcasing each season? Which designers are up and coming and why are they succeeding?It also helps to look at your local market. You never know what opportunities await you nearby. A partnership, a chance to cross-promote, or a new concept for a festival or gallery - these are just some examples.

Build Your Brand with Your Competitive Advantage

Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to lower the prices of your products to have an advantage. Nor do you have to jump on every trend in the home design industry to stay ahead of the competition.With these 5 ways to find and channel your competitive advantage, you'll do more than turn a profit. You'll give strength to your brand and open the door to new and promising opportunities. Need help marketing and building your brand?Click here to learn more about how Artisan Born can help you grow your business.