Has competition got you down? The good news for smaller businesses is that you can beat even a billion-dollar competitor. The secret? Carve out your niche and develop a unique differentiator. Identify your core customers and articulate how your customer experience will be different. What will you do to be exceptional?

Think about all of the coffee shops out there. In Boston, there is an area where there are five within a one-block radius. But Boston Brewin’ is the go-to place for a number of local businesses.

What makes it special? The owner, Tom, knows all his repeat customers’ names; he sources only organic, fair-trade coffee; and he has partnerships with several local charities. His entire business model revolves around “giving back.” Buying coffee from him, as opposed to a big chain, makes his customers feel like they’re doing some good in the world, and his business thrives as a result. How’s that for a differentiator?