Let’s talk competitors – the big, the small, the near, the far.
Some small business owners spend too much time looking at their competition and some not enough – there is a happy medium that is just the right amount (think of Goldilocks!)
You may have competitors that are doing much better than you, or seemingly, because you can never tell, and you might be thinking:
- I give better customer service than them
- I have better products than them
- My store is better set out
- I’m more genuine than them
- They’re just in it for the money
- They are actually horrible humans, it’s all an act
- I’m always on time – they are always late and lazy
And the list goes on – you get the picture.
If you think these or anything similar about your competitors, then the reason why they are winning more business than you, earn more than you or doing better in business, can be put down to almost always ONE REASON.
Yep, just one.
They are simply better at marketing what they do, than you are.
They are better at:
- Showing up
- Singing their own song and telling people what they do
- Telling their audience what problems they solve for them
- Understanding their ideal client and therefore really tapping into those pain points
And yes, I know, it would be pretty easy for me to say that you simply need to get better at marketing – better at showing up for your audience and selling yourself!
Perhaps that is EXACTLY the solution – that’s all you need to do to win more business.
OR – alternatively – perhaps it’s time to do a competitive analysis and actually find out what you need to do to win more of the business pie.
Some people do a SWOT analysis when it comes to competitors – SWOT meaning Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
It’s a good paper way of looking at things, but it’s often theoretical and based on assumptions.
HOWEVER – the type of competitor analysis I’m talking about is more in the trenches.
Let’s take the case study of a retailer who owns a florist, who has a few competitors, including small business owners and multi-national chains, all within her “area” of business.
As a florist, if you want to win more business what do you need to look at when it comes to your competitors?
- Customer service – how long after you walk into their business are you greeted?
- What was the greeting like – enthusiastic, friendly, helpful?
- What are their prices like – tiffany or Kmart?
- What condition are the flowers in?
- Are they grown in Australia or imported (as a florist I expect you’d know this)?
- What upsells and cross-sells are there?
- Is the store tidy/clean?
- Are the people dressed well?
- Do they look like they enjoy their work?
- What is their “check out” system like – easy, quick?
- Do they deliver? Do they charge? What’s the time frame?
- Do they answer your questions with confident answers? Do they know what they are talking about?
- Are the florists or just customer service people?
The list goes on and on – but you start to get the picture.
Yes, you might need to improve your marketing but making a list of questions like this and actually doing a competitive analysis on them, even going into their business and purchasing from them, could tell you exactly what marketing you need to improve to win more customers.
For instance, if you find from the questions above, that their flowers are not fresh, not Australian grown, not sold by florists, but sold by grumpy people who really don’t know anything about flowers, and their store is messy, dirty and they charge heaps for delivery and only deliver once a day – then there are SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES for you to start building a better business.
In fact, you probably have a better business, you’ve just forgotten to tell everyone about it.
YOU ASSUMED everyone knew:
- That you did deliveries for free AND four times a day
- That your flowers were only from Australia growers
- You have loads of happy customers every day who are not only customers, but now friends.
SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
It’s time for you to:
- Post about how your support Australian growers
- Gathering testimonials from happy customers
- Show up in your business doing some videos of walking through your store showcasing what you have
- Highlighting your helpful and friendly staff and showing you on deliveries
Assuming your audience knows things or remembers things, is a bad way to run a business or a life really – assumption is the killer of many relationships, business or not.
So, if you’re not sure why your competitors are winning more business than you, then perhaps it’s time for a competitor analysis.
I know you’ll be amazed at what you find!
You’ll find ways to improve your own business (or at least your marketing because you’ll find loads of content), and you might just be surprised at what else you find out!
All this is said with a caveat, because I am old and wise (at 46!) and I know that there are lots of businesses in this world, maybe your competitors, maybe mine, that have a lot of smoke and mirrors and the reality is very different to what the world sees or assumes.
Keep this in mind too when you think your competition is doing better than you!
And like I said at the beginning, this is not something I think we should be expending loads of energy into, business is hard enough, but it is a great activity to do periodically to ensure your marketing and your business is the best it can be.
Now, go think about your competitors.
And if you’re thinking they are getting more of the business than you and yet, you’re better at what you do, then you need to:
(a) Get better at marketing what you do to your audience
(b) Put some energy into a competitor analysis, write your list of questions and start analysing!
Honestly, I believe for many small businesses it’s their marketing that lets them down.
- who their audience is
- who their target market
- what problems they solve for that target market
Those are the things that give their competitors the upper hand.
And a last word on this – competition is healthy! There’s nothing wrong some great competition – it’s keeps us on our game – so embrace it! Competition is not a dirty word!
If you would like some assistance in doing a competition analysis, please reach out to me! I have free discovery chats available, where we can have a look together how I can help you. Send me a DM or go to my website and book a call here: https://calendly.com/jenn-smm/discovery
If you aren’t already in my Like Minded Business Owners Facebook group – please head across and join! There is a fantastic community of small business owners there who have a wealth of knowledge to share. Or, please DM me on Instagram or shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land, the Yorta Yorta People, on which I conduct my business today and pay my respects to their Elders past and present. I extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples reading this blog post today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR!
Jenn Donovan is a marketing strategist and social media extraordinaire, coach and mentor to savvy business owners. Owner and Founder of Social Media & Marketing Australia.
With a passion for making business simple, because it’s isn’t easy but it should be simple or at least simpler, she’s built a reputation for helping other small business owners simplify their marketing and businesses so they can reach their goals, be more profitable and live the dream (finding the freedom they set out to achieve when they started … the illusive small business owner freedom dream …!)
Jenn believes in giving before asking and that’s why she’s the host of the popular Small Business Made Simple Podcast.