Is your small business boringly similar to your competitors?
There are so many other businesses out there that are doing exactly the same as you and now, in this world of information overload, one of the questions I get asked all of the time is, “How do I make my business stand out from the crowd?”
And my answer is...
So, have a look at what you’re doing in your business, and ask yourself if it’s really any different to what everyone else in your industry is doing. Offering the same boring lead magnets, sending the same boring emails, posting the same boring content, attending the same boring networking events, and providing the same boring products and services. Because, if it's just more of the same, then no amount of promotion and no amount of marketing, is going to help.
So, be brutally honest with yourself. Look at the competition. Look at everything they’re doing. And recognise that you're just following the trend instead of leading it.
"But, how can I lead the trend instead, Jo?"
This is the only way to stay one step ahead of the crowd and give your business the chance to really get traction. So, stop following the leader, and look instead to become the leader. Of course, the problem here is that innovation and creative thinking isn’t taught at school. And so how do you learn to innovate when you’ve never been shown?
Well, the key to innovation is to think beyond the norm. Look at what your competition is offering and ask yourself what’s missing. Suspend reality and ask yourself how things would have to change if you were aiming for the opposite result. If you were trying to attract the opposite client. If you wanted to provide a product instead of a service (or vice versa). Ask yourself what you’d do if you had limitless time, a fleet of employees, or a bottomless bank account? And what if you had no time, no employees, and no money. What if you were given the stage in front of a room of perfect prospects? Would they be diving up to buy? If not, why not? And what could you do about it.
And then, every idea you come up with, no matter how outlandish, write it down and take the time, once a week, to look at all of those ideas and join the dots. See where things come together to create something you can actually test the market with.
4. Fail Fast, Fail Often
Because, actually, the key to success is to fail. A lot!
It’s not to hang around waiting until you have enough experience. Until your website is perfect. Until you have a page full of testimonials. Until your lead magnet looks amazing. Until you have a tonne of relevant content.
It’s to give it a shot and, if it doesn’t work, be brave enough to bin it and go back to the drawing board. Because flogging a dead horse will get you nowhere. And neither will trying the same thing over and over again, and expecting a better result. So move on quickly and come up with another approach. Even better, try multiple approaches at once, to see which one performs best. And seek to identify what is causing one approach to do better than another