Are you the best at what you do? Among the best? Anywhere close to the best?
Wherever you rank in comparison to your competition, are your existing or potential customers or clients aware of how you compare? As importantly, how accurate an assessment do you have of where you rank amongst your competitors? Remember: our ideas are like our children – we love them because they are our own.
But as any honest parent will tell you, sometimes we must face some brutal truths about ourselves. Before you can match or exceed the competition, you have to understand who the competion is.
How many competitors do you have? This is not an abstract question about hypothetical competitors “out there, somewhere” in your chosen field: this is about who your potential clients might consider in addition to, or instead of, you? More importantly, it’s about who your existing customer or client might consider doing business with instead of you.
To remain competitive, you have to assess the competition: the “business school” term for this is “competitor (or competitive) analysis“. Who else is doing what you’re doing? How saturated is your market? Even if you don’t operate from a physical (brick and mortar) office location, most of your customers/clients are probably local.
Examining the competition is also helpful in determining whether your pricing is too high or low for your market, and is a good source of ideas for new goods or services to offer.
You have probably heard the phrase “there’s no loyalty in business anymore“. This is usually said in reference to employer loyalty – gone are the days that “noone gets laid off at IBM”, and such. There’s no such thing as a guaranteed steady job, regardless of trade.
There’s also no such thing as automatic customer loyalty. Just because they’ve “always done business with you” doesn’t mean that they’ll be back tomorrow, to replace the product or renew the contract.
Business, especially in today’s economy, is about relationships. Just as apathy and ignorance of other potential suitors can lose your sweetheart’s affection, inattention and unawareness of competitors can lose business. Make no assumptions, and court your clients, existing and potential, as if you were a newlywed on honeymoon.
In many ways, the stakes are even higher…
The Henssler Financial Group Position Paper
© 2004 The Henssler Financial Group | www.henssler.com