Are you following your competition or your customers?
In the 80’s it was Ferris Bueller’s rad IBM computer, in the 90’s it was that totally cool Discman. Today, as an entrepreneur, it’s a competitor’s website or number of Facebook Fans.
I recently spoke to a woman that has a love and talent for photography, she said she does it “just for fun”, explaining that these days “everyone with a camera is a professional and has a photography business”. She is holding back because of the intimidation and the feeling of being inferior. Unfortunately, she is trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ of photography. She’s letting her perception of her competition get in the way of creating her own successful business.
The most common areas that we tend to compare are pricing, products, and marketing.
Here’s what many of business owners do;
Pricing – set prices according to what a competitor charges.
Products – create and sell products that compete with what competitors offer.
Marketing – spend time and money trying to ‘out market’ competitors.
This is a reactive approach to a business where you should be the expert. Why not take a more proactive approach? Why not be the one that sets the bar and let your competition try to keep up with you?
Here’s what you should do;
Pricing – your pricing should be a combination of a breakeven analysis and value position. Understanding what you need to make and how much your products are worth to your customer.
Products – your products should be based on market demand. Look at your customer’s needs and your strengths in meeting those needs.
Marketing – your marketing should reflect your personality, mission, and target market.
I’m not saying that you can’t gain inspiration from your competition, it’s almost inevitable. However, you should never let the actions of your competitors paralyze your own progress. Have faith in your ability and make your own way.
Create your products, set your prices, organize your marketing plan, and then, after all of that is in motion, take a look at what your competition is up to. You might be surprised by how you measure up.
It’s easy to follow the trends, and try to keep up with ‘the Joneses’, even in business, but at the end of the day, what really matters is legitimacy, authenticity, personality. So, dare to be different!
Share your stories and ways that you strive to be different.
Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net