Hey there – and welcome to episode 119 of the Small Business Made Simple Podcast.
Thanks for leading me your ears today – I know you have lots of choices out there and I appreciate you making me one of them.
I’m Jenn, the host, marketing thought leader and digital strategist and coach for small businesses. And just an all-round small business lover with one goal in business – to make every small business I come across to make marketing a priority in their business – because if you want to grow, you need to market!
It’s that’s simple – not easy, but simple for sure.
Just before we head into this week’s episode, I wanted to quickly tell you about my Women in Busines Retreat that I’m hosting on 21st May at Airtree Resort in Yarrawonga.
A weekend for women in business to refocus, be inspired, relax, connect and grow. There’s only 12 spots – 6 of which are already taken.
If coming away with 12 other amazing women in business for a weekend of learning and fun sounds like something you’d like to do, then head to https://bit.ly/wibretreat to find out all the information and register your interest.
Or send me a message and I can answer any of your questions!
This week on the podcast I wanted to chat to your 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.
And this episode isn’t about starting to follow and watch your competitors – heck we are too busy for that, but spending a little time doing so, will be time well spent on occasions – I promise, and I’ll tell you why shortly.
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
Etc etc – 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 1 reason.
Yep, just 1 reason.
They are simply better at marketing what they do, than you are.
They are better at showing up.
Have a better strategy
Better at singing their own song and telling people what they do
Better at telling their audience what problems they solve for them
Maybe they understand their ideal client better and therefore really tap into those pain points
So, 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.
And perhaps that is EXACTLY the solution – that’s all you need to do to win more business.
Or 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.
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’s heaps of opportunities to 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 delivers for free and 4 times a day, that your flowers were only from Australia growers and you have loads of happy customers every day who are not only customers, but now friends.
It’s time for you to post about how your support Australian growers, gathering testimonials from happy customers, showing up in your business and doing some videos of walking through your store showcasing what you have and 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 amazing 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.
So, keep this in mind too when you thinking your competition is doing better than you!
And like I said at the beginning, this is not something I think we should be loads of energy into, business is hard enough, but it is a great activity to do every now and then to ensure your marketing and your business is the best it can be.
So, 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, when (a) get better at marketing what you do to your audience and (b) put some energy into a competitor analysis, write your list of questions and start analysing!
I hope this episode was helpful and thought provoking.
Honestly, I believe for many small businesses it’s their marketing that let’s them down. Not knowing who their audience is, their target market, and not knowing what problems they solve for that target market, that gives their competitors the upper hand.
Oh, and just before I go, 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!
But that’s it for episode 119 – I’ll be back for 120 next Thursday – look forward to chatting again then.
Have a fabulous week, whoever or whatever it brings.
If you’re enjoying this podcast, which if you have listened to here – you hopefully are, don’t forget to subscribe, share this episode with another superstar business owner who’s doing the daily grind and would appreciate someone making their business simpler, and leave a rating or review to show how much you are loving this free weekly content and my fabulous guests!
See you next week
But whatever you do,
……..remember small business peeps, as my opening song says, there’s no point in dreaming small!
I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land, the Yorta Yorta People, on which I record this podcast and 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 here today.