Theodore Roosevelt thought that comparison was the thief of joy.
Not in 2015.
Traditionally we study our competitors during the planning process of our own businesses, often using an analysis of their strengths and weaknesses. Why not take a new approach this year? Set some time aside to focus on three to four major competitors who will inspire you to achieve more goals this year and boost your business.
Here are four ways they could actually help you:
Yes, collaborate. Work together to build a networking group of similar competitors or start an association to target particular clients that you may not have the confidence to do alone. Working as a team can portray strength as well as professionalism in a non-threatening way to investigate how the opposition operate.
Nominate a well-deserving competitor for an industry award, refer a client to them if you aren’t able to complete a project, connect with them on social media or an online forum. Can you write for their blog, journal or newsletter?
Creating relationships with your competitors can open up opportunities to observe and learn within a different environment or spark an idea to benefit your own business.
2. Marketing tools
Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools for businesses these days. Take a look at the content that is updated on your competitor’s profile. What gets people talking, sharing, liking on particular posts? How have your competitors made the conversion from within their social media community to customers?
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Many brands are creating stories within their businesses to connect and serve their customers. Analyse the tools those brands use to share their message and see how you can implement them into your own strat
3. Your Unique Selling Point
How does your Unique Selling Point or point of difference help your customer? Now take it to another level. Think about what would make a customer choose your product rather than your competitor. Assess how you can improve or refine your point of difference creatively to help catch the eye of your target customer. Your product or service should reflect the values, as well as the mission statement, to boost your business.
4. Customer experience and income streams
Think outside the square. Why not try your competitor’s product or service? Think about the user experience from the customer’s first interaction to completing the sale as well as follow-up service. How did they make you feel?
Take a look at the different income streams of each company and how does it match their mission statement or business ethos. Do they offer packages for a certain product or offer benefits to valued customers? Workshops, online webinars, conferences, memberships are all useful offerings that benefit customers.
Creating and establishing relationships with competitors may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it can benefit both parties to boost their business. While we don’t want to be copying anyone’s ideas or products, connecting with someone within your industry can inspire many new ideas that may develop into a major income stream or long term business relationship.
Lisa is a freelance writer, copywriter and blogger based in WA, whose writing interests are careers, women’s lifestyle, parenting and travel. Find out more at www.lisaberson.com
Photo credit: Grisel D´An