Making a small business or even a growing company stand out among the competition is always easier said than done. Usually it’s all you can do to stay afloat in the early years, and focusing on beating out other stores or brands seems like an immense ordeal. Then, once you do focus on it, it can begin to seem like all the tricks have already been tried. This is just how it goes in a world that has more companies and startups in it with each passing day.

Sometimes though, some outside-the-box thinking can solve the problem, and give you a way of making your business stand out.

1. Focus On Your Blog

Taking this one from the ground up, you should absolutely have a blog, no matter what your business happens to do. A lot of companies, stores, and even online companies that don’t directly require a blog neglect to post one, and as a result they fail to engage with online visitors as comprehensively as they could. Making your blog stand out is a process, but if you post up-to-date articles on topics that are even loosely relevant to your business, you’ll effectively add a small news and communications element to the company. And that alone will likely be a generous step beyond much of your competition.

2. Create A Charitable Twist

This is a specific example, but think about what makes Toms so much more popular than dozens if not hundreds of similar shoe companies. It isn’t the fact that prices are low, nor that the slip-on shoes are lightweight and machine washable. It’s that Toms was designed with a one-for-one model that earned it a lot of press coverage and made consumers want to buy shoes so that more shoes could be donated. The company’s success is clear evidence that people like to do good through their consumerism if at all possible. Any business hoping to set itself apart should look to do the same. The one-for-one model is difficult and only works for certain kinds of companies or products, but it’s the more general idea that should be imitated far and wide.

3. Accept Cryptocurrency Payments

Opportunities to spend bitcoin both in person or online are still fairly scant. This makes cryptocurrency a little less useful than some hoped it would be by now, but it also makes it such that businesses that do accept cryptocurrency tend to stand out. This, coupled with the rise of point-of-sale systems for cryptocurrency, make it an interesting idea to attempt to differentiate yourself this way. It’s a slight hassle, and some business owners would undoubtedly not want to bother with it. However, it may be a hassle that’s worth it, simply because crypto acceptance is more or less newsworthy.

4. Create Tab-Style Payments

The idea of tab-style payments is not quite as widespread even as cryptocurrency, but it’s something you can see modeled here and there - must notably at online casinos. At these sites, people can pay via phone bill, such that they never have to make direct payments, present credit card information, or really anything else. An actual store offering a similar service - with more of a tab than a phone bill, of course - would actually be quite original, and might just result in an excellent customer experience. Say, for instance, that you could allow customers to set up a bill at the end of each year. It’s a good bet that those customers would enjoy the feeling of patronizing your business for free in the moment, even with the knowledge that they’ll eventually be paying.

5. Just Be Weird

This may not sound like particularly serious advice, but if you’re thinking that way, you may already need to loosen up a little bit. Yes, running a business is a serious endeavor, and there are some rigid aspects to it. However, no matter what a given business actually does, it will always stand out more if it shows some personality, and ideally a bit of a sense of humor. This can be done through advertisement, a social media channel, or even from how employees interact with customers or clients, if such interactions are to occur. There aren’t specific guidelines with this idea. Just remember that normal blends in and weird stands out, and so long as you aren’t overbearing or off-putting about it, you probably prefer the latter.

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