“There’s nothing new under the sun!” I said this in a recent post and it remains true today as it has always been. There are however, variations on a theme. Concepts and ideas for products and services that vary from vendor to vendor – whether online or not!
With the above in mind, it’s no secret that competition among concepts, ideas, products and services exists! Most folks would say that competitors can’t be collaborators. And for the most part, that is true.
Yes, I know that McDonald’s, Arby’s, Long John Silvers and other fast food giants build at the same intersection; but that’s a different angle, for different reasons. McDonald’s promotes hamburgers while Arby’s offers roast beef. And if you want Alaskan White Cod when rolling off the interstate; you’ll likely head to Long John’s! It’s unlikely that we’ll buy something from one and head to another for something else in the same visit.
When I think of competition and competitors; I think of small business owners seeking to compete with big box stores. Or businesses with similar concepts and target markets trying to collaborate when doing so may defeat the growth of one – or both!
So how do women in small business develop a competitive edge that thrusts them ahead of another business with the same or similar concept?
Business guru’s will tell you it’s about customer service. And it is! In a web world with social media as the king of marketing and sales funnels (or so they say); how we deliver our products and services and how we treat those who purchase them will make all the difference in business growth – or lack thereof. Of course, the assumption is each business offers comparable products/services with little difference in price points.
Then there’s target market, marketing in general and market share. So many different variables that go into how we fair against the next gal (or guy) whose business appears to mirror ours! If we’re talking hard facts about the hard side of business; then the above is accurate stuff. But in my mind; there’s a soft side to the sales cycle we often miss. Although we talk and write about it much of the time.
I’d venture to say the following is more often the case when consumers make purchase decisions than we realize. Even if we’re in a big box retailer searching for a knowledgeable sales associate to give us the skinny on the next shiny thing we’re going to purchase.
1. INTEGRITY – Integrity relates to character. How I conduct myself personally and professionally will determine how others view me – and my business. Strength of character in all matters – personal and professional – may just determine my competitive edge. Especially if I stand head and shoulders above the competition!
2. AUTHENTICITY – Yea, yea we hear that all the time too. Be “authentic”. Especially when engaging and interacting with others via social media. Here’s a piece of truth: no one is 100% authentic 100% of the time! TWEET THIS!
If I’m having a bad day; I’m not going to tell my social media world how bad it is and what it is that’s “bad”. They don’t want to know and I’m well aware of that! The “authenticity” of which I speak is that which reveals all aspects of a business opportunity without extravagant claims less than true or attempts to downplay that which is not totally true. It might cost me a sale; but in the end my authentic interaction with you may just be the competitive edge I need to nudge out a less than honest broker on the next corner.
3. WARM CONSIDERATION – Business folks who are warm, honest, authentic and transparent stand head and shoulders above the rest. TWEET THIS.
Especially those with competitive products and services. News travels fast! When we are warmly considerate of others – including our competitors, positive word of mouth gains the attention we need to rise above the fray.
There’s more to the “soft side of business” that helps women in small business reach a competitive edge, but the 3 listed here will go a long way toward helping them make a significant mark.
Women, don’t fear the concept or idea that mirrors yours. Put your shoulder to the wheels marked “integrity, authenticity and warm consideration“. You will end up at the top of the heap as word spreads of who you are – and how you conduct your business.
Most of all, how you conduct the business of life!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, Visionary Partner
Champion of Ordinarily Extraordinary Women of the World
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-1/p160x160/10933880_10152999878054264_1749306739390848122_n.jpg?oh=3b9b3e144f0b306aa0cc748b03d9dd6a&oe=55550352&__gda__=1432002183_d9a5e0b3a35fc3cfbbe66ed7bc7658c9[/author_image] [author_info]My passion is to see women become all they are designed to be – personally, professionally and most of all – spiritually. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]