Competition – what competition?
Be aware of the competition, take note of it, but don’t be like a rabbit in the headlights and become mesmerized by it. Adopt the attitude of abundance and believe that there is enough business for everyone. All businesses have their own unique personalities and selling points, and these appeal to different people and businesses in different ways.
You and your business will attract the people who identify, connect and feel comfortable with your ethos, ethics and personality. What you have to do is ensure that your business offering is visible in the marketplace, communicating what you are offering and how so that your potential customers and clients can find you!
Word of mouth referrals by existing customers and clients are the most powerful way of spreading the word about your business and one of the most, if not the most, cost effective way of gaining new business. People trust the judgement and recommendations of people they know.
Why is it that you will find a cluster of lawyers in a certain part of town, or a road of accountants’ offices, or several hairdressers or beauty salons in close proximity, or restaurants grouped together? How do they all survive if they’re all in direct competition with each other? Could it be that by being close together, they are reinforcing their presence? If you want a lawyer, you can quickly take a snapshot of a selection of lawyers by visiting the appropriate part of town.
Although the different businesses all appear to be offering the same thing, they are all offering something slightly different – some of the differences and nuances are very obvious, others are more subtle.
Taking the example of a road of restaurants, at first glance we could deduce that they are all in competition with each other in that they are all serving food. On closer inspection, we will see that they are offering different types of food – English, Italian, Chinese or Indian for example. Then within these groups, different restaurants’ menus are based on different regions within the countries so the food they are offering is very diverse. Another variation will be the average cost of a meal they are serving. Then there will be the style and decor of the restaurant, the ambience created and the type, style and level of service given.
At any given time, the restaurant that we choose will differ depending on what we feel like eating, how much we want to spend, who we are with, what sort of mood we’re in or want to create, whether we want to try something new, or go somewhere familiar where we know what we’re going to get.
Being together, the restaurants get us to the right part of town for us to eat, but we can quickly choose a restaurant based on our own unique selection criteria at a particular time. At different times we may choose the same restaurant, or may choose different ones. What the restaurants are offering isn’t changing, our requirements are.
Concentrate less on the competition and more on your own offering. Even if the business next door seems to be offering exactly the same goods or services as you, because they are provided by different people the experience will be a very different for the customer.
Do what you are doing to the best of your ability and conscientiously. When people have a pride in their work, whatever it is, it really shines through and adds that magical X-factor to an offering. Customers and clients notice it, even if they can’t articulate what it is, and are reassured that they have made the right choice.