Day 26 - Getting Ahead of the Competition
Welcome to Day #26 of the 31 Days to Better Branding series! To learn more about this series, click here to find link to the other days so you'll be able to follow along or catch up if you happen to miss anything. I am by no means an expert but after hearing a lot of the same questions, I figured other could benefit from a few lessons in branding. Hopefully it will give you a place to begin or even just a few tips to improve your business and bring you more clients. Feel free to add in your thoughts and what has worked for you in the comments!
Let's be honest. We all kind of tend to look around at the competition before making any big business marketing decisions. It's really easy to get caught up in comparing and copying and competing. Instead of making wise decisions for our business, we just do what everyone else is doing and follow by what appears to be working for someone else in our field.
I'll share kind of an embarrassing example from personal experience. Early on in my business I got caught up in comparing and looking at others in my field for how to market my business. There was one business competitor who seemed to me to be on top of everything. They seemed to be really successful really fast and everywhere I went, I'd run into an advertisement for them. So I thought "I must not be doing something right. I better do what they're doing." So I made Big Mistake #1 - Following after what a competitor is doing. I assumed that ads everywhere would work for me because this other business "appeared" successful.
After two months of this, I cut nearly all of the advertising. I was spending way more than I was bringing in from the ads. Plus my work was suffering because I was too busy doing projects for the companies I advertised for. That would be Big Mistake #2 - Looking from the outside of this other business and making assumptions. I didn't know how much revenue they were getting from their ads. I didn't know how much time they spent dealing with other companies. Maybe they were getting a lot of sales but it's a good chance that it was all being spent on advertising and projects I wouldn't like to do. So was it really worth it to advertise everywhere they did? Not for me.
I needed to be more purposeful with how I was marketing myself. Once I did that, I was shocked to see how much better it was for my business. And I was spending a lot less too.
So the point of today is that you cant get ahead of the competition by watching them so closely, copying and competing. The only way to get ahead of the competition is to RESEARCH. Don't research your competition, but research outside your immediate field or circle. I take every chance I get to learn more from those who have been there. I follow blogs in fashion, design, home decor, business, and photography. I watch free online workshops. I read magazines, books, and take ecourses. I listen to podcasts and watch webinars. Find other experts and take the time to learn different methods. Then apply the best ones to your business or get inspired to try something new.
Plus you won't feel like a big fat copy cat:)
Homework: Think about how you learn best and then find some resources to help you research marketing and business ideas. Don't get overwhelmed by your limited time - Listen to a podcast while exercising or watch an online workshop while making dinner. If you add in just a few good influences, you'll be shocked out how much your business can grow.