One of the biggest and most costly mistakes that I see businesses making is leaping into marketing activities without first planning out what they need to do. It’s really important to take the time first to get clear on where your business is now. In my last two blogs I’ve been writing about how to look at your business, your clients and your services. Click here to read the previous one.
The final aspect of your business that you need to think about at this stage is your competition.
Every business has competitors and they can take two different forms – direct and indirect. What’s the difference?
Direct competitors do exactly what you do. If you’re a coach who specialises in helping people lose weight, your direct competitors are other coaches who help people to lose weight. They don’t need to specialise in doing it – as long as it’s one of the things they do, then they are a direct competitor.
Indirect competitors are people to whom your clients can go to for similar help. Using the weight loss coach as the example again, indirect competitors include personal trainers, gyms and sports clubs that people can go to, in order to lose weight. If someone else helps people achieve the same end result, but in a different way, they are an indirect competitor.
You need to consider your indirect competition as carefully as your direct competition. Just because there are no other financial consultants listed in your area in the Yellow Pages, does not mean that there’s no local competition. Look at the number of banks, accountants, bookkeepers to whom your clients might turn for financial advice.
So do you know who your main competitors are and what they do? How much do they charge? What area do they cover? Depending on what you do and the area you cover, you don’t need to know every detail about every single competitor for miles around – but you do need an idea of what you’re up against. Search the internet for people who do what you do and see who comes up.
The key thing to think about when comparing your business to your competitors is what makes you different. What makes you stand out from them? Why would someone come to you instead of going somewhere else? Take some time to answer all these questions before you leap into any new marketing.
Want more help with getting started on your marketing journey? Join the Magnetic Marketing course and every week you’ll receive an email full of advice, a video explaining all you need to know and clear activities to help you move your marketing and your business forwards, throughout the duration of the course. Click here to find out more and join the Magnetic Marketing community.