Growing Your Business 101
Should you try to look like your competitors?
Its quite normal to want to be like other businesses in your market. But you have to make sure you differentiate yourself to avoid blending into the crowd.
As an informed business owner, you must be aware of what your competitors are doing and why. The better you understand competitors, the better you are able to chart your own direction. Try to understand what their strengths and weaknesses are, understand their pricing structure, and their customer demographics. Pay attention to how they promote themselves, and what their customers are talking about in social media. You may discover customer needs that are under served that you are well equipped to solve. Pay attention to how they convey their key benefits thru design of their marketing collateral. As you compare your business with competitors, you may find many similarities. That is ok as long as you are not trying to simply duplicate what someone else is doing. You must have some differentiation that makes your business unique and offer something your competition does not. Why should customers select your business over others? Make sure you clearly define your advantages and honestly check if you are stronger in those areas than your competitors. Maybe you offer a higher quality product, maybe your pricing is better, or your customer service is beyond compare. You decide what makes you different, and make sure you truly are different.
Once you are clear on what makes your business special, and you have done enough customer research to validate that your customers actually want the benefit you are offering, it's time to get the word out. Let's say that your product is the only one that includes a monkey, don't spend all your marketing efforts on talking about price...talk about the monkey! Communicate that details of why that monkey is something your customers cannot live without. Make sure your marketing materials look nothing like your competitors, focus instead on bringing out your uniqueness so your customers understand that you ARE truly different.