Why the most successful small business owners don't focus on their competition
One of the realities of small business is that all of us have a number of competitors offering similar prod-ucts and services. And many of these competitors are good at what they do. So how can you positively differentiate your business from your competitors? In other words how can you get an ‘unfair business advantage’ among your competitors?
Here's the good news…regardless of what type of business you are in, you actually have a surprising amount of choice about how you sell your products and services. You can choose which customers you will sell to, you can choose how you are you going to position yourself to your customers, you can choose how you will make sales, you can choose how you are going to stay in touch with customers (before, during and after a sale), you can choose how you will add value to customers, you can choose the strategies you will use to attract new customers… I think you get the point.
Changing just one of these things can be how you create an unfair business advantage over your competitors and give your sales and profits a huge boost. Here are a couple of ideas to get you thinking:
1. You can choose how convenient and easy you make it for a customer to do business with you.
Using convenience can be as simple as redesigning a form or process so it's easier for a customer to use it, or it could even be the hours you are open for business.
Many years ago a dentist in Los Angeles decided to set up a dental practice that only operated from 4pm to 4am. He then took out small ads offering his services in the trade journals that supplied the Film Studios.
He knew that films were very expensive to produce and the people involved in producing them often worked long hours. So they didn't have time to see a dentist during normal business hours. No other dentist at the time offered the convenience of dental services after hours and he made a great living for many years by doing this.
2. You can choose which customers you sell to.
Many people don't give a lot of thought to choosing which customers they sell to.
However this one choice can have a huge impact on your results. Choosing who you will sell to can be as simple as asking yourself the following question: "Who are my best customers and what do they have in common”?
A large franchise company began looking at the characteristics of their most successful franchisees, and discovered (to their surprise), that a large number of them had short haircuts.
Now that was pretty unusual; so they decided to dig a little bit deeper. Further research revealed that the majority of these franchises (with short haircuts) came from an armed services background like the air force or army.
The reason these franchisees were so successful was because they were used to following orders from their armed services background. So they tended to do everything they were told to do in their franchise manual and got excellent results when they did this.
The franchise company began to focus a lot more effort on getting people from the armed services into their franchise business and their sales went through the roof.
Answer these two questions and you’ll never have to worry about what your competitors are doing:
1. How can you make it more convenient for clients to do business with you?
2. Who are your best customers and what things do they have in common? What can you do to sell more of your products and services to people who are more like your best customers?
If you can make a point of asking these questions all the time, you will notice the positive impact that it has on your business in a very short time by overcoming one of the biggest mistakes that most business-es make, of simply not differentiating themselves clearly enough to influence their customers buying.
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About the contributor:
Graham McGregor has had 36 years 'hands on' experience in sales and marketing. He has sold a range of services including advertising, sales training, personal development, life insurance, IT services, investment property and business consulting services. He is also the marketing advisor and creator of the 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage Report’. Website: www.theunfairbusinessadvantage.com