Who is your competition?

It is very easy to look around and say “My business is unique. I don’t have any competition” While the first part is true (no one else has you) the second is definitely false.  It’s also very dangerous; there is no business without competition.

A simple example is buying a new BMW.  Now the obvious competition is Audi and Mercedes.  You might go a bit higher on price, with Jaguar and Rolls Royce, or a bit lower with Vauxhall or Skoda.  You might go so far as to think of motorbikes or second-hand cars being an option. And there, 99% of people will stop.

The trouble is that people’s minds won’t stop there.  They have a finite amount of money so may think, “I’ll keep the current car and have a holiday instead.  I’ll buy a conservatory. I’ll pay for private school for the grandkids.” It will be very rare that someone is so precise in what they want that there are no other options available.   Anything can be your competition which is why you must use positivity in your messages.  Instead of saying “xxx is rubbish” which only rules out one competitor say “I am the best”.

Try to fix the problem the customer has.  With a BMW the problem is that the customer wants to feel special while at the same time having reliability at a reasonable price. So to solve that you have the fact that the car is a luxury. That rules out the lower end cars. It’s affordable. That rules out the higher end too. It’s safe so no motorbikes and reliable so not second-hand.

The next part is harder.  How do you compete against a holiday?  Well the fact that that the car will make you feel special for years while a holiday will be over in two weeks. The conservatory? You spend more time in a car than sitting in the house. And the grandkids? Forget it – you can’t compete!

This is a very basic example but you can apply it to your business.  Find out what your customer is looking for and tailor it.  You might want to split them into different groups, who all have different needs.  And because they have different needs there will be different competition.

The more heads involved in this the better.  Bring in friends, family and neighbours. Ask your staff and brainstorm.  Do the hypothetical “if you had £xxx what would you spend it on?” This is one area is where being part of a franchise can really help.  There will be others thinking of the same question.  You can even ask if it can be a ten minute discussion during a get together with other franchisee.  You can help each other and improve your business at the same time.

The more competition you can think of, the more angles there are to market to and the more opportunities to sell.  Pretty soon you’ll be the one selling conservatories to car buyers!

Written by Harriet Ennis

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