One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is by trying to be better than the competition. It is a very good strategy to raise the game of your business but for too many businesses they spend too much time trying to be as good as…. well, as good as the biggest competitor or the market leader.
How many coffee shops have you seen that try to look like Starbucks? The result is usually bland!
Chasing the competition is bad news for several reasons:
1) You’ll be two years behind. The moment we notice that somebody is doing something better than us they have probably been doing it for a while and the idea that initiated the change is probably two years old. You don’t want to follow these leaders because you will end up eternally out of date! Visit a developing country, or even a small town, and you will notice that the stylish people are wearing fashions that were hot in London five or ten years ago! You don’t want that look. It is only sad!
2) Nobody can be you! There is nothing wrong with being inspired by others but becoming a clone never works. The number one reason clients say they do business with me is that I stand out and I am different. The reason is that my business is a reflection of me. I do the work that I like to do in the way that I like to do it! It makes me happy but it also makes me completely different. I am honest and speak my mind, which means my thoughts are fresh. Sure, I studied business and have an MBA but I always keep my mind focused on my feelings – not formulas!
3) Become Generic and you will disappear! I have seen too many businesses pay some designer to develop the company brand image and website without imparting a clear vision of the business. Sometimes this is the fault of the designer but most often it is the fault of the business owner who fails to express a real vision for the business. The result is ’nothingness’! A professional brand with no personality – doctors and accountants are famous for this kind of generic ‘out of the box’ brand imaging that do nothing for the business – dull, boring, uninspired is the resulting brand image!
4) Absolutely DO NOT be the ‘Marmite of Accountants’! Be yourself and be real! When you create a comparison people remember the comparison not you! You are unique – just be yourself – it is the easiest and best thing to be!
Know who you are and what is important to you! Be yourself and you will probably be more successful finding a loyal market than if you try to become everyone else.
The Savoy, the Dorchester and the Ritz are all great Five Star hotels but they are also each unique.
Apple Computers never followed anybody – the result now is that everybody is chasing them! It wasn’t always that way, but Apple always had its 5% of the market because it was authentic.
When I work with my consulting clients or teach one of the many business development workshops I have created, the focus is always on become the best – the best version of you!
As a speaker, I don’t strive to be slick or polished – I strive to be authentic! The result is often memorable.
You and your business need to be good and maybe even the best but most importantly you need to authentic, definable and discernible in a world where most are trying to look the same!
The easiest way to create your own niche is to simply be yourself!
Isn’t that magic?