By Jared Weitz, founder & CEO of United Capital Source Inc.

There’s a widespread misconception that the most important qualities of a marketable business are all related to marketing itself. You must have relentless social media activity, coverage from popular publications, or super aggressive email campaigns. As crucial as these tools are, being great at them doesn’t automatically make your business truly marketable.

Throughout my career as a veteran entrepreneur, I’ve found that a business’s marketability is more dependent on what the business actually does. So, if you intend to build a marketable business or increase your business’s marketability, I advise focusing on your business model, target audience and, of course, your products or services.

Here are three overlooked but essential characteristics of a marketable business:

1. Business Model

Businesses that have a unique business model tend to prioritize what is currently referred to as the “customer experience.” They offer convenience or even enjoyment in areas where their competitors do the complete opposite. Figuring out which areas to choose is sometimes as simple as researching the most common complaints about your industry. For some businesses, however, the solution isn’t so obvious, nor is there only one of them. They can’t just be faster or cheaper than their competitors. My suggestion is to find overlooked areas with a lot of room for improvement.

You might discover that in a few areas you have a legitimate shot at becoming so good that you could possibly overshadow the unparalleled advantages of your competitors. For example, my business financing company can’t match the application speed of online lenders or interest rates of banks. But we were able to surpass the majority of our industry when it comes to accessibility, customer service and capacity for product negotiation. Marketing these strengths is much easier than hopelessly echoing nearly all of our competitors by insisting we’re the most seamless or affordable option.

Another element of a unique business model is an aspect of your team or operation that stands out. Is your team young when everyone else is on the older side? Does your team use a highly effective but largely unknown tracking or management tool? These details help you market the value of your work because they tell potential clients that you have something your competitors do not.

2. Little Things About What They Sell

Many successful companies do not have the best or most appropriately priced products or services in their industry. They attract interest by marketing something unique about their products or services, even if it’s just a slight difference. If taken advantage of correctly, that unique feature could be extremely useful to a certain type of customer.

As mentioned earlier, the products offered by my company are not the cheapest on the market. But unlike our competitors, the terms of our products can be customized to better accommodate the temperamental cash flow of our clients. We also offer more products than most of our competitors, including some that are offered by very few other business lenders. You don’t have to be a business financing expert to see how these two features could be viewed favorably by someone who needs more than low interest rates to achieve sustainable business growth.

3. Unique Target Audience

Virtually every article about marketing emphasizes the importance of knowing your target customer. What many authors of such articles neglect to say is that the main point of knowing your target customer is to determine what makes them unique. This will allow you to design products or services for a specific group of people whose needs are not being addressed by your competitors. As a result, you will be able to market to a group of people that is usually not marketed to by the rest of your industry.

Once you determine the central unique factor of your target customer, additional factors will surface. At my company, we found that the customers who wanted flexible products also place a lot of value in customer service. Compiling these factors produced a picture of our target customer that was so clear we could begin shaping our marketing materials around it.

The Final Ingredient: Authenticity

It’s much harder to fulfill the three items on this list when your number-one goal is better marketing. My company did not create our products because they seemed like they’d be easy to market. We created them to help the people we wanted to help. I believe the key to becoming a more marketable business isn’t improving your marketing but improving your business as a whole. An undeniably exceptional business is a marketable one indeed.

Jared Weitz is founder & CEO of United Capital Source Inc.

Published on: Dec 20, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.