More often than not, I encounter business owners and individuals who are so concerned with the competition that they lose sight of their own unique and powerful place in the market. When you spend most of your time checking up on your competition, or trying to model what other people are doing, you can’t help but question your own way of doing things. If so-and-so at Awesome Insurance Agency is sponsoring the town’s annual holiday parade, then why shouldn’t you put your name on one of those glitzy floats, too?
There could be a whole host of good reasons why you don’t sponsor the parade. Maybe your business supports a specific cause or charity instead of sponsoring community events, or maybe the marketing benefits are minimal because your ideal clients aren’t likely to attend parades. But I’d bet the farm that every year, as you’re watching your competitors waving to the crowd atop their floats, a little piece of you wishes you’d gotten your name in the game too.
When you find yourself itching to mirror your competition, however, turn that mirror inward! Start focusing on what makes you and your business so unique, and then lead your business in its own direction. When the efforts of other businesses are constantly on your radar, it’s time to put your blinders on. Yes, I said it – BLINDERS! Who cares if others are doing it cheaper, faster or – in your mind – better than you? Focus on what you do well, and I assure you, both personal and financial rewards will come.
Now, you may be wondering how you can possibly stay in the game without acting like every other business on the block. The answer is simple: after you’ve done your research and believe whole-heartedly in the work you’re doing, then it’s time to stand your ground and go for it. Put those blinders on and keep them there! Nobody is going to do business like you do and, in fact, the characteristics that set your business apart from the rest will ultimately provide the competitive advantage you’re looking for. You don’t have to be a copycat to get ahead, so find an original, authentic way to express yourself and stick with it – no matter what the other cool kids are doing.
I know it’s not easy, especially when you come across a business strategy or message that really resonates with you. But instead of putting a new spin on a great idea and calling it your own, challenge yourself to be more creative. What you’re saying is not as important as how you say it, so try expressing one universal thought, concept or idea at least five different ways before you settle on the tone and style that feels most authentic to you. Try this short exercise on for size to warm up your thinker, and then apply it to your business message and see where it takes you:
- Universal Message: “Things Happen for a Reason.”
- Six Variations of Expression:
- “It is what it is.”
- “You can’t control the way things happen.”
- “That’s the way the cookie crumbles!”
- “If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen.”
- “Go with it!”
- “Don’t fight the inevitable.”
Do you see how you’re saying the same thing six different ways? Which expression felt the most like you? Which expressions would never come out of your mouth? Once you define a communication style that fits your personality, then you’re ready to start digging deep inside yourself to create a Relationship Marketing strategy that authentically connects you to your clients. When you drill down to a razor-sharp message rather than grabbing on to bits and pieces of what everyone else is saying or doing, you begin claiming your space by letting your own unique personality and expertise shine through. It’s how you say goodbye to comparison and hello to confidence, and I promise your clients will thank you for it. You may not end up on a float come parade day, but I guarantee that without the burden of competition weighing you down, your business will soar to new heights and you’ll feel like you’re floating on top of the world. FBN