1. Being Different Is How You Can Stand Out In A Crowd, Win Fans, And Grow Exponentially
There is no question that the best way to stand out in a crowded field is to be "different." You must have something that you do that is very unique from everyone else. Once you identify something that you can do that makes you special, make sure that you do that thing extremely well. Doing something unique and wonderful will make others talk about and recommend your business to others. That is how you build a following that will be loyal to your brand. Knowing what your competition is doing will allow you to find opportunities to turn clients into fans.
After you find the thing that makes you unique in the marketplace, you still have to monitor your competition because yes, they do steal your good ideas. I like to use the example of Chic-Fil-A. The company was really the first fast food restaurant to bring high customer service to the industry. Their reputation for service is really legendary. They have built a very loyal fan base of customers and stand way above their competition. One of their signature customer service points is that they always say "my pleasure" after serving a customer. Well, lo and behold, after a while I started to hear the familiar "my pleasure" words uttered by another fast food restaurant's employees. Wow. They stole their signature saying. Well, after a while, saying "my pleasure" will no longer be unique. So how will they stand out in the crowd when other companies start to steal their great ideas? Well, the only way you can stay ahead of the competition is to know what they are doing. Always, always, always, monitor them to see if they have taken your great ideas and then look for new ways to be unique.
Keeping up with what your competition is doing may also allow you to learn from any mistakes that they make. Learning from other people's mistakes is the best way to learn. If your competitors have newsletters or email lists, subscribe to them so that you can always be in the loop with what they are doing. You can also go to Google News and set up a news alert for your competitors. If any news item or press release is posted about them, it will go directly to your inbox. Keep your eyes and ears open so that you can pick up on any missteps from your competition.
Businesses who don't keep up with how much other companies are charging for similar products or services can price themselves right out of business. Consumers are very savvy these days and routinely go online to get price comparisons. If they can find your product or service at a similar quality but at a lower price, you will probably not get their business. This is why you MUST know how much people are being charged for similar services. The more intelligence you gather from your competitors the more ammunition you have in your fight for market share.
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