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Forbes Business Council: 16 Strategies to Set Your Small Business Apart from Larger Competitors

Small businesses and startups are challenged every day to prove their worth to prospective customers. In a marketplace largely dominated by global brands and big businesses, smaller companies need to get creative in how they differentiate their products, services, and value from larger corporations—so, where to start? This Forbes Business Council article, 16 Strategies to Set Your Small Business Apart from Larger Competitors, sourced advice from top entrepreneurs, including our CEO, Dr. Donte Vaughn.

Among suggestions to clearly articulate your value proposition, personalize your services, fill a market need, and offer creative customer support, Dr. Vaughn advised to focus on workplace culture:

“Articulating the purpose, vision, mission, and core values that guide the organization will establish appeal and credibility in the eyes of prospective customers and employees. The caveat to realizing this competitive edge remains rooted in how a startup actively practices the culture they claim. Your workplace culture can be a competitive edge.”

A new study from Ipsos found that consumer brand preferences are driven by an alignment of their values and the brand’s purpose. When your small business gets clear on its purpose, vision, mission, and core values, it’s important to publish and promote them, and actively demonstrate how you’re embodying the values to foster connection with your audience, which includes prospective employees.

Dr. Vaughn joined the Forbes Business Council in 2021, bringing his expertise in organizational leadership, workforce management, and company culture to the invitation-only community.

Forbes Councils is a collective of invitation-only communities created in partnership with Forbes and the expert community builders who founded Young Entrepreneur Council. In Forbes Councils, exceptional business owners and leaders come together with the people and resources that can help them thrive.

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Dr. Donte Vaughn


Dr. Donte Vaughn, DM, is the CEO and Managing Partner of CultureWorx, a company dedicated to providing Culture Performance Management solutions to help organizations measure, manage, and foster cultural change through “real-time” learning and practice.

Dr. Vaughn is an expert in Organizational Leadership, Workforce Management, and Company Culture. He has over 17 years of senior level executive experience driving results in the public and private business sector; fostering the design and implementation of business growth and leadership strategies and serving companies throughout the U.S. and globally.

Before launching CultureWorx, Dr. Vaughn founded and managed a boutique Operational Management Consulting practice serving the growth business community. He has also consulted with firms in providing labor strategy and workforce management solutions for the industrial market space.

Dr. Vaughn studied at Drexel University and the University of Phoenix and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration & Management, a Master’s in Management and Organizational Leadership, and a Doctor of Management (DM).

His professional memberships include the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), The Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), National Speakers Association (NSA), National Small Business Association – Leadership Council, and the National Business Educators Association (NBEA). Dr. Vaughn is an Official Member of the Forbes Business Council.

He is the co-author of the Amazon Best Seller: From Culture to Culture: The System to Define, Implement, Measure, and Improve Your Company Culture.

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