At least twice a week I hear business owners say their market is so crammed with competition that there is nothing that separates them from their competitors except maybe price and location.
If there is nothing but price and distance wouldn’t that mean that we are all essentially the same? I think not. Of course there are things that differentiate your brand in a crowded market. All you need to do is some digging. And in some cases some excavation.
Someone once told me that any idiot can be different. It’s the geniuses that crack what makes you compelling to your audience. The magic formula then is a combination of different and compelling, driving your business an advantage = Differentiated advantage.
What do you do better than everyone else to compel your customers to buy?
Knowing what you do best and being able to convey that to your target audience means knowing your market. Inside and out. Here’s a check list of things to look at to get the ball rolling:
The basis for a competitive advantage often lies in the resources and abilities that are already available. Take a critical look at the existing resources and product or service offerings. What can be used as an advantage?
Have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Has it been established? Businesses with specific and achievable goals tend to have better and more consistent growth. Challenging, but realistic goals should be written out to help clarify what the business will do in the future. These goals will become benchmarks for success and will help maintain focus.
Determining the products and services customers want and cannot get from the competition is a valuable first step. Once the needs and wants of the potential customers have been established, the characteristics of those customers can be examined in an effort to identify commonalities. Speak to current and potential customers about what they feel makes a difference when purchasing from you and/or your competition.
With an understanding of what customers want and an idea of how this can be provided, it is important to take a look at other businesses targeting the same market. First, look at the direct competition. Once the competition has been identified, compare the strengths and weaknesses of the competition to the strengths and weaknesses of your business. This will provide more insight as to where the your competitive advantage lies.
See you next week
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