If you're a woman in business or even just ready to launch your business, I'm sure you've already had a look at what your competition is doing. Maybe more than a peak, maybe a good long look. Or maybe monitoring them more often than you feel is okay.
The scenario comes up over and over again. You're working your business doing quite well, when you notice that other person in your industry who seems to be having all the luck. All of a sudden you're thinking to yourself “She's everywhere! She's doing YouTube, she's in all the Facebook groups I'm in”. “She has triple the amount of Facebook Fans than I have! What am I doing with my life?
You've heard of that old saying “Comparison is the thief of joy”? Yep, all of a sudden you're fixated as to what this person is doing and what is making her power ahead in her business. Pretty soon you become disenchanted with your business. “I have to do something different. My strategies aren't good enough“. Or worse, some become negative: “Why am I doing this? I'll never reach her”. “She's so popular online, I'll never grow my customer base”.
Here's what you should know about your competition
Your competition can be one big distraction
They can make you lose focus on your business faster than a picture of Chris Hemsworth on Pinterest. Do not let your competitors distract you from your business strategy. Fixating on what that “one person” is doing, is the fastest way for you to go off your course. All of a sudden you lose sight of your goals and you're off down a rabbit hole. The best thing you can do for your business is to focus on the short term goals you've set for yourself which will eventually lead you to your longer term goals.You might ask though, “shouldn't I have some idea of what's going on out there?”. Yes of course, but know that monitoring your competition can be done in a non-distracting way which is healthy for your business.
Action: Let your competition motivate you and spur you on to be better in the way you do business. Look at each activity in your business and think about whether it's serving you or not. What's working, what's not working. If it's not working should you try and improve or try something different? Can you improve in your consistency with your marketing activities? Can you improve in your customer service? Watching your competition should move you to become more creative in the way you do business, without losing sight of your personal goals.
You don't know what your competitor's goals are
They may not be the same as yours and so their business activities and strategies may not be in line with what you want to achieve, or may not suit the way you want to do business. And what sometimes looks like a rosy picture isn't all what it seems in real life.
Action: Think about what you enjoy about the way you do business. While your competition is doing online webinars, is that something you personally would enjoy doing? If yes, then explore that option for you, but in a way that's authentic to you and in line with your goals. Remember that there is more than one ‘right' way to do business. Meditate on: “how does this feel in my gut”? Does doing business that way feel like a good fit for you.
Okay, so watching what your competition doing isn't all bad
Watching your competitors can alert you to upcoming trends. Is your competitor on “the” new social media platform?
Action: Do some research on the current “it” social media site and see what's happening there. Again, is it a good fit for your business? Your competition may have joined just to test it out. Or they may have unlimited time and funds to throw around testing new things. That doesn't mean it will be viable for you. You need to do your own research to see if it's practical and doable for you before you commit a whole lot of time and energy into it.
Competition is a good thing!
Having competition means that there is a viable business there for you. There is plenty of business to go around for everyone and I can't stress this enough. Until we can get over that mental hurdle of “I can't do well as her because she has the market cornered”, we'll never get anywhere. If you're feeling this way, give yourself a mental shake up and realise that there is an abundance of business for everyone. What is important is how you differ from your competition. “Your voice”, the way you speak online and your personality is what makes you different from others which will help you stand out. That outgoing and perky person who is your competition might seem very attractive to some people, but highly irritating to others. You will attract customers to you because of who you are.
Action: Be yourself and cultivate your own brand. The more authentic you are, the more you will attract like minded customers to your business. Your business will flow and will feel so much more natural to you. Trying to act like that other ‘successful' person who is your competition is draining and you can lose yourself in the sea of sameness rather than setting yourself apart in your customers eyes.
Look for the gaps
Is there something that your competition isn't providing your market? Look for gaps where can you serve your market. Maybe there is a service that you can provide to satisfy the needs of your market.
Action: Listen to your customer's needs online (Facebook groups are great for this) or send out a survey asking them how you can help them. Of course you can't take on every suggestion and you can't be everything to everyone, but you are sure to unearth some interesting information which can be helpful in your business.
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