It’s useful to have competition – they are an indicator of a market with demand and can keep you on your toes. But we don’t always see them that way, do we?
Short of taking the Victor Kiam* approach (he was so impressed, he bought the company!), you need to know how to take advantage of your competitors’ weaknesses and combat them with your strengths.
As a starter, you need to know:
- Who your competitors are
- What their strengths and weaknesses are
- If you were your own client, why would you choose to go to your competition
- What makes you different from them
Remember, it is not your potential customer’s job to know what your competitors are doing and how your proposition differs; it’s their job to buy the product or service that they feel is right for them. The internet and easy access to information does mean that your customers may know something about your competition but don’t assume they know as much as you do.
The key weapon you have in your armoury is YOU. Your competition doesn’t have you. They have them!
The value of trust cannot be overstated: it means you will stand out from the crowd. And you can build it by doing three simple things:
- Keep your promises to gain credibility
- Be self-aware
- Focus on your customers and their needs
*Victor Kiam. If you’re not of a certain age, have a look online to see who we mean. It’ll make sense. Honest.
There are 56,000 companies registered for VAT or for PAYE in the North East according to the Office for National Statistics.
That’s at least 56,000 businesses and potential customers for your business (we haven’t included sole traders). They’re out there. You have to go out and find them.
Okay, they may not need your products or services right now, today, but start building relationships with them, start to differentiate yourself from your competitors and who knows what will happen?
So what is your strategy to engage with the market? How are you getting your name, your reputation and your offering out to your prospects? With enough money, you could build a world-class website and buy up every premium Ad Word to direct traffic to your site. But there are cheaper, workable alternatives.
Start by knowing what your ideal client looks like. Go into as much detail as you like, then work it backwards. Get to the point where you have identified what kind of industry your ideal client is likely to be in. Once you’re at this point you can call on the power of your connections.
And remember the power of referrals too.
Imagine if there had been more than one Saint George taking on the dragon? He’d have had a much easier job. Building strategic partnerships is a useful weapon to defeat this particular demon. Thinking back to your ideal client, what other product and service providers are they likely to use and who do you know in those industries?
What are your thoughts?
Which of the sellers’ demons should we have included and how do you defeat them?