How do you feel about your competitors?
There are generally 2 approaches people use, in order to rise above the competition and develop their business.
- They stay just as they are and focus on trying to ruin their competitors, by knocking them or bad-mouthing them. Of course, this doesn’t work.
- They can use their skills to out think and out market their competitors, so they get ahead. This works.
As well as those 2 well established approaches, I would like to suggest a 3rd alternative to you. It’s the approach I use myself. It means adopting a very different mindset to developing your business.
The zero competition mindset
I know people in each of the most competitive professions, who have zero competition. In fact, they often recommend their competitors to people, such is the disconnect between what they are offering and what their “competitors” are doing. It’s only the; lawyers, accountants, designers, coaches, trainers, financial advisors, restaurateurs, therapists and IT consultants etc, whose services are similar to one another, who have to worry about competitors. That’s because they are all trying to take a slice from the same, limited pie. So, the more business one guy gets, the less business there is for all the others.
The zero competition mindset, sees you offering a unique service or range of services. Then, if someone wants THAT service, you get their business because you’re the only person they know offering it.
For example, a former client of mine opened a new accountancy practice a few years ago. He and his partner were extremely good accountants, but they knew that wasn’t enough. We decided to offer his clients FREE, client-only networking events, where HIS clients had the opportunity to meet and do business with each other. He also offered clients a free wi-fi area in his offices, where they could meet and have a coffee. These small business owners started meeting THEIR clients at his offices, which saw him win even more business.
Meanwhile, his “competitors” were busy offering the same boring range of services, and competing on fees in order to win business!
Two challenges with the zero competition mindset
There are a couple of issues with adopting the zero competition mindset.
Firstly, it requires creative thinking. You need to stop thinking like a service provider and start thinking about what the marketplace needs, which it isn’t already getting (or getting from a provider in your area.) Whenever I have mentioned this approach in the past, people ALWAYS say:
“Yeah, but it wouldn’t work in my business, Jim!” What they really mean, is that they read the post and nothing immediately came to their mind.
I know people in every industry and profession, (including yours), who use this approach with great success. Here’s the thing: Creatively developing something that is uniquely valuable about your business takes creativity, time and effort. If you want to embrace the zero competition mindset, you need to give it the resources required. It’s seldom an instant fix.
Secondly, it requires courage. People tend to follow what the crowd are doing, which is why 99.9% of people in the same profession, offer a very similar range of services. It takes courage and faith to bring something new to the marketplace, without knowing for certain, in advance, that it will definitely work.
People who offer genuinely unique value:
- Have no one to compete with on price or fee. In other words, they set their own market value.
- Get referrals from people who would have previously been their competitors. For example, more marketing professionals refer clients to me than people from any other profession.
- Become massively more visible. The vast majority of businesses in any sector, are so alike that they find it really hard to get noticed. The are camouflaged by the crowd of others all offering a similar sounding service.
- Get mentioned and referenced a lot more often. Because of the approach I bring to small business marketing, this blog gets a great deal of high level media coverage. For example, only yesterday I was referenced and linked to from The New York Times small business blog.
- Get to connect and share ideas with fellow professionals. This is extremely valuable.
The list of rewards is enormous, however, the promise is only available to those who have the vision to see it and the courage and commitment to see it through.
Is this approach for everyone? No.
Is this approach for me? Yes. It’s the cornerstone of my entire marking and business development strategy.
Is this approach for you? Maybe. Just don’t rule it out until you have given it careful consideration.