10 Ways To Stand Out And Stay Ahead Of Your Competition
Ahhhhh! Competition is scary right? To think someone else is capable of coming up with similar ideas than you that may be BETTER than yours? The marketing, blogging, and advertising world are always evolving and changing which means we have to keep up. I know sometimes it can be hard to look at your competitors and not get green with envy; especially when they have what you want and they make bajillion of dollars.
But instead of reacting like that and avoiding your competitors, or even feeling as if everything is a competition. Think about how much more fun it would be to make friends with your competitors, to appreciate what makes you unique in your own way, and to do some deep soul searching in your business to figure out what makes you stand out. In fact! Think about what it could be like if you decided to collaborate and team up with them!
I’ve learned over the years that it's way more fun to connect and collaborate with people I think are much more talented than I am. It's better to befriend people that are more successful than you. Also, instead of getting caught in the comparison trap, just try to focus on what you have to offer.
While those things are fantastic, it’s also expert level for you to do brand comparisons in a nonjudgmental light. Figure out what makes those brands work and what doesn’t work about them. Then compare it to where you currently are and where you want to go. I have learned this with every branding client I've ever worked with, that its vital to do these comparisons with people that they admire or want to be like. We can analyze the results and figure out ways to make our own business unique.
Here are 10 ways to stay ahead of the competition when you are in a comparison phase.
VALUE YOUR EXISTING CUSTOMERS.
Instead of putting all of your focus on new clients and finding new customers, focus your attention on the ones you already have. These customers are already all about what you have to offer, so by treating them and going above and beyond their expectations you can gain an advantage from your competitors by figuring out ways to stand out from within. What do you have to offer that is different than your competitors? Do your competitors send out written thank you notes or Christmas cards to their clients? Figure out a way to delight your current client base and they may come back for more, or even better, give you referrals by word of mouth.
DETERMINE YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION (USP)
What in the heck is a Unique Selling Proposition? Well, I sure had no idea, but once I did my research and read the definition I was like 'OH that’s what that is called.' “A USP is the consideration of the reason that a product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.” [LINK]
For you this means to figure out what it is about your product or service that is BETTER or DIFFERENT than someone who is offering something completely similar to what you are offering. That way you can easily target your sales and have a better marketing strategy. Maybe your service or product is different because it is marketed in a super awesome campaign, or maybe you sell it somewhere they are not. Maybe you can make yours edgier, or easier to understand. Once you figure all this out is important to implement this idea into every area of your marketing strategy.
LOOK TO THE FUTURE.
Ok, I know we cannot predict the future..but we can think outside of the box and plan for bigger things coming. For example, we can plan with growth and keep up with changes. Maybe a service you offer isn’t really what your audience is looking for anymore so you need to figure out what is next, or how to package up those services to better fit your clients needs. Or you could learn new skills, figure out what the latest trends are and make your own version of it. Upgrade your software. Get a faster computer. If you are prepared for the future you will be more motivated to reach your goals and you’ll be ready when change happens.
KNOW YOUR COMPETITION.
If you just keep a blind eye away from your competitors because you tend to get jealous or down on yourself; then how will you ever know what you are competing against? New businesses, blogs, and amazing products are constantly entering the crazy innovative world, meaning your competitors are always changing and evolving as time goes on. You need to do some research to figure out who they really are, what they are selling and what makes them special. This will give you one step ahead on differentiating your offerings.
TARGET A COMPLETELY NEW MARKET
What, going away from our niche? How could that possibly be helpful? Exploring new areas and other audiences that might have an interest in your offer will definitely give you the upper hand in staying ahead of the competition because it will help you find a new audience your competitor has not yet found. Again to avoid being a complete failure, DO YOUR RESEARCH. That way you can learn all about them and specify what they need.
EXPAND WHAT YOU OFFER.
Maybe you learned a new skill, or you have an idea on how to make your product or service a much better value than what your competitor offers. Expanding them can make others more interested in signing up. For example Corrina from CoCorrina offers e-courses. I mean the market is huge now, but what I love about what she is doing differently and what made me want to sign up is that she created a custom goody package for each of her students that sign up. Most of the courses I’ve signed up for have never given a tangible product, only digital. These special goodies she created herself gives everything a touch of her brand and personality. Course attendees are more likely to be happy when they get something unexpected!
FORM A PARTNERSHIP.
If you don’t know how to do something, but you are interested in including it in one of your offerings, you can partner up with someone. This can be in the form of duo webinars, collaborative workshops, or even partnering with someone who you can both create an exciting product.
BE THE BEST EMPLOYEE YOU CAN BE.
Learn new skills, figure out ways to be productive, create an inspiring work environment for you to work in. Motivate yourself to do the work and get shit done. Be ON TIME. Don’t work in your pajamas all day. Figure out a schedule that works best for you so that you can be at your best work hours once you sit down at your desk. Treat every single project like it is your dream client! This will help differentiate you from your competitors because maybe you happen to be more prompt than they are. Or you get back to your emails sooner.
This is SO important, as we all know. Networking can get you in the eyes of someone that wouldn’t have noticed you otherwise. Make new friends in your niche, find friends that want to partner with you on fun projects. Be supportive of your competitors, build a community, and give positive feedback. Who knows, maybe your competition will direct a client to you because they don’t have something that you do!
DON’T FORGET, TO LOVE YOURSELF.
The number one important thing when being a boss is to take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself will bleed into other areas of your life. Soon, you will start feeling good about yourself, which will in turn make you a better employee, a better friend, a better designer. Your creative brain will thank you for not burning yourself out. I know it can be hard when running your own show to make the time to care for yourself because you are so busy doing everything else, but for the sake of your sanity and success, do yourself a favor and make time in your day to do something just for you.Maybe that is taking a bath and reading a book, or maybe it’s introducing yoga into your morning routine.
How do you feel about your competitors? Leave a comment below!