In today’s crowded marketplace, finding a way to stand out from your competitors and be noticed is the toughest challenge most businesses face. Many small business owners and entrepreneurs I talk to are forever worrying about how to get traction online / how to create engagement and interest on social media / how to get in front of their ideal client. Continually coming up with new ideas and new ways to differentiate can seem way too hard, if not impossible. Particularly when you’re already working hard just getting the grunt work done – who has the energy? But whilst it may seem tough, there are a few sure-fire ways as an individual or business you can get people’s attention and be noticed without having to come up with 10 new strategies every month. Yes, honest! Below are five of my favourites, and by following them you will soon find yourself focusing less on your competition and how to fit in (which will not get you more clients), and more on your own story and standing out (which will attract them)!
In short – be you. Don’t try to be who you’re not because people are smart and they will eventually realise you’re faking it. It’s easy to be swayed by the crowd or to copy your competitors, but you’ll be much more successful if you stay true to yourself and do things YOUR way. You may not be loved by everyone, but the people you attract will be genuine supporters of you and your work.
In a competitive environment where there are usually plenty of other people offering the same service or product, this doesn’t always seem easy. But it is possible. Just like the Thank You brand has continually innovated to come up with ways to not just be another bottled water company, there will be ways you too can stand out in the crowd.
Instead of following your competitors, look outside your industry for inspiration and ideas. Think outside the box. What’s NOT being offered by your competition currently? How can you market your services differently? How can you let your personality shine through your brand? Whenever possible, try new things and be an early adopter of new technology (eg social media or apps).
What’s the worst that can happen? By giving things a go people are guaranteed to be watching you.
PROVIDE AMAZING CUSTOMER SERVICE
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
This famous quote by Maya Angelou really says it all. Treat every client or customer like they are your only one, give them an amazing experience, and they will tell all their family and friends about you. Make it unforgettable and they will still be talking about you in years to come! There’s no better way to stand out.
BUILD STRONG RELATIONSHIPS
And by this, I don’t just mean with your customers or clients. It’s just as important to build great relationships with your suppliers, your collaborators – even your competitors! Build great relationships with everyone you know and you will find yourself surrounded by not only a supportive customer base but also a supportive community that will get behind you and what you do.
Most entrepreneurs are passionate about what they do, but not all are great at talking about it or sharing it with others. Don’t sit back and hope that people will discover your amazingness – go out with confidence and share your message! Tell people what you do and why it lights you up. Live it and breath it in every way – not just in what you say but in what you wear and how you act! People will feel your confidence, feed off your energy, and gravitate towards you.
There is no doubt that the number of businesses competing in the online space has increased dramatically in the last few years. For new businesses entering the market, the fact that it is so easy these days to launch a business is fantastic – but of course, the flip side is that the competition for everyone increases overall. That said, I’m a big believer that there is always enough work to go around – I decided to stop stressing about scarcity a long time ago, and regularly refer people to other photographers if the job isn’t the right fit for me or if I’m already booked. Of course, to be in business you DO need to have a product that’s needed and that people will pay for, but as long as you have ticked that box, then following the steps above is guaranteed to help you stand out in your field and send more ideal clients or customers your way.
At the end of the day we should all be having fun in our business, not freaking out about how to get found – so just get out there and be you, be confident, be different, provide amazing service, and focus on building great relationships with people, and I guarantee you WILL be successful!