When building a business in a competitive industry, standing out among competitors is as crucial as it is difficult. You've done the hard work to have a unique and quality offering, but how do you cut through and be the go-to option for your clients and customers?

As the founder of Konnective, a broadcast messaging platform for big businesses, getting this right has been incredibly important in order for us to stand out in the crowded and competitive messaging industry. To help get you on the right track, here are some of the key areas we've focused on to become a leader in our field.

1. Work out what you do best and do it well

You are never going to be able to solve everyone's problems so don't make this your goal. Instead, identify what it is you do well and focus on making it world class.

At Konnective we realized early on that we're good at enabling broadcast communication with dispersed and frontline workers. Of course, we have multiple ways we go about doing this, but the core of our business is built on one simple idea: making it effortless for employees to receive business critical communications.

2. Build your personal brand

This is crucial and will go a long way to helping you stand out. In today's age of social connectivity, the focus is most often on the people so it's important to take an active role in how you're portrayed online and how that relates to your company.

Start blogging, take speaking opportunities, appear on podcasts and go to networking events to become the face behind your brand. If you can find ways to add genuine value to your industry and position yourself as an expert, you can create opportunities that a traditional sales approach wouldn't. We have found LinkedIn to be a great platform to share points of view and a good place to start building a reputation within your industry.

3. Be a winner

Get some wins on the board and share them with your community. Find pitch nights or industry awards to enter - the free PR and exposure can go a long way.

Recently, we entered and won Start Tel Aviv, a competition that identifies top startups from around the world. This led to multiple press opportunities and has helped build credibility when reaching out to potential investors and customers. As a result, we have secured meetings with a number of our target organizations and I had the most amazing experience meeting 32 female founders from 30 countries around the world.

4. Get a flagship customer or customers

The key here is to not set your sights too low when you're starting out. There is no reason not to approach a big corporation and if you've done the groundwork to build your network and credibility, getting those big meetings can come easier than you might think. Speak at or attend events where you know you can meet the key people - it's much more effective than cold calls or emails to get those initial customers.

This was a big focus for us early on. Having some well-known brand names behind us has opened more doors and legitimized our product in the market.

5. Provide exceptional customer service, always

Be a company that people want to work with. Many new customers have come to us through a referral from an existing customer. They like our product, but we often hear it's our customer service that really makes the difference.

Listen to what your customers have to say so you can understand where their problems are and how you can work together to solve them. This can be as simple as picking up the phone and asking a customer for feedback. Whether you're offering B2B services or a consumer product, building trust and respect with your customers will help you stand head and shoulders above your competitors.

There are many opportunities to get ahead of your competition and attract the customers and talent you need. Every business is operating in a competitive industry so it's important to face it head on and devise the strategies that will help you stand out.

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Julie has over 20 years experience in IT, working in leadership roles at both Accenture and Deloitte. During her time in consulting, Julie worked in Australia and the US managing the design, delivery and operations of large-scale web projects across a range of industries. In 2012, Julie and Brad established Konnective, an employee messaging solution. Initially targeting the education market, Konnective now counts some of the world's largest companies as customers.

Konnective gives Julie the opportunity to use her knowledge and experience to help organisations improve the way they communicate with large, disparate workforces.

Konnective and Julie were selected as part of Springboard Australia's 2016 program. She is also the Australian winner of Start Tel Aviv for 2016.

Published on: Nov 30, 2016