After British Prime Minister David Cameron last week pledged to invest a further £15 million into UK start-ups, it was made clear that small businesses are seen as a key driver of economic growth.

In fact, when you consider the government’s willingness to subsidize small businesses and the advantages delivered by contemporary technology and innovation, there has never been a better time to follow your entrepreneurial instincts and establish an independent firm.

While this may be relatively simple, however, it is far harder to differentiate your firm and develop a profitable business model.

4 Ways to Differentiate your Small Business

With this in mind, what practical steps can you take to differentiate your start-up business from its competitors?

1. Create a Natural Viral Hook

Content marketing is now a key component of promoting your business, and many of its benefits can be transferred into a wider business context.

Contemporary content marketing and SEO techniques require your business to sell a natural hook that has viral appeal, as this will help your start-up venture to gain the attention of consumers across a wide target audience.

This needs to be either a product or service element that remains unique to your business model, while it must provide a solution to a common problem or carry genuine appeal within the mass market.

You can consistently maintain a blog that shares resources your costumers will find useful. This blogging has proving very useful for companies like KISSmetrics, Hubspot and Salesforce.

2. Use Apps to Streamline Your Business Processes

Thanks to the innovation of the Cloud, it has never been easier to store, share and access valuable company information in real time. By integrating apps into your start-up venture, you can instantly gain an advantage on your competitors and develop a streamlined, low-cost commercial operation.Your productivity level can greatly be enhanced with the right apps for your employees.

Take the concept of cloud-based asset management apps like Assetware that serves the purpose of tracking each cost-based item that belongs to your firm. Users create real-time inventory of their company’s products and calculate the cumulative cost of stock-holding.

3. Set Rather than Follow Trends

While this may seem obvious, it is also an exceptionally courageous thing for any start-up business to attempt. This is because it essentially isolates businesses from their competition, which could in-turn leave them cut adrift of the market if they fail to engage their audience.

It can also reap great dividends, however, as moving away from the crowd and establishing a popular trend can empower your brand as a market leader.

Look at the recent trend set by leading insurers and energy companies, for example, who have moved away from price comparison sites and instead encouraged consumers to visit their own independent site directly.

4. What is your differentiator?

Most large businesses are known for doing one thing and doing it to their very best. What are you known for? How do your customers identify you? What are your strengths? Re-strategize and determine what sets you apart from your competition and focus and making it better.

Carve out a position for your business, create your marketing messages around your position and sell your business based on your strengths. Once you stay consistent with your message and over deliver on your product, overtime you will be known to offer something remarkable in the market.

Think Macbook or iPhone and what Apple stands for. Apple keeps delivering on what they stand for and want to consistently deliver quality products every year and customers know what they will expect.

To keep your customer’s trust and continued loyalty, consistently deliver great product or service.