How to Stand Out in a Competitive Industry
My friend Thomas is a video producer. He’s gifted at his craft and one of the best I’ve ever worked with. But despite his talent, he struggles to get clients. He has good months and bad months, just like most business owners.
Recently, we talked about what he could do to grow his business, and it was clear to me that he needs to change his business model and messaging if he wants to grow. That’s because there are tons of video producers, and on the surface they all appear to be the same. If you want to be successful you need to stand out. But how? Here’s how companies like Thomas can stand out in a competitive industry:
1. Find a Niche
A niche allows you to position yourself as an expert in a certain area. This means you could be the financial planner who specializes in working with millennials, or the photographer who is known for photographing children, or the personal injury attorney who works only with people injured in car accidents.
In other words you’ve got to make yourself known for something. See, most financial planners work with anyone, but if you specialize in working with millennials, then you‘re going to attract them to your business. Everyone wants to work with an expert….someone who understands their specific needs and has worked with others just like them. If you build a specialty around a specific group of people, process or knowledge base, then you can begin to target the people in that group who would benefit the most from what you offer.
2. Build Your Personal Brand
People want to buy services from people they know, like and trust. And the best way to get people to like and trust you is to build your personal brand. Social media and content creation allow you to show the world who you are and what you know. This is a great way to separate yourself from the pack. If people start following you they can decide if they like you. And over time they will come to trust you. That’s important because the next time they’re in the market for your services they’ll call you first, because they feel like they know you.
3. Be Unique
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make when creating their business model is to see what their competitors are doing and try to do the same thing. BIG MISTAKE… HUGE!! If you do this you aren’t creating something unique. Instead, you are putting yourself into a position to become a commodity.
Universities are a good example. They’re competing for a shrinking pool of students and are constantly looking to see what other universities are doing. One school decides to offer a major in nursing so they all do. One decides to offer study abroad in Ireland, so they all they do. They’re so afraid of their competitors getting ahead that they become copy cats. Yet no one is the leader. Being the leader means taking a position so you can stand out in your industry.
Good business requires that you know what your competitors are doing, but it doesn’t mean you have to do it too. You don’t want to say “I can do that too”, instead you want to say “here’s what I offer that no one else is doing.” That’s how you win!
About the author: Meg Huwar is an award winning Marketing & Brand Strategist and Founder of Brand Accelerator. She and her team work with companies who want to market their business but don’t have the time, experience or staff to do it themselves. Meg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org