Last week I felt totally inadequate to the simple task of writing AWESOME content, and no small part of the reason for this was because I was comparing the content that I was creating to some of the amazing writing and video work of people that I admire and follow on the internet.
I got some really lovely comments from other ladies who had felt the same way in the past and am glad that the post resonated. I have since realised that part of the problem is that I have found myself obsessing over one of my ‘competitors’.
I was constantly asking myself…
How are they doing that?
What are they doing to grow their business so quickly?
What are they doing that I should be doing?
And then I realised that it doesn’t really matter.
What I have found is that when I focus on my own audience, ideas and activities, magic happens. It is only by understanding what it is that we do really well here at Women Unlimited that we are able to continue giving our community what they are looking for.
On Monday we held a focus group near Kings Cross (and a BIG thank you to those who braved the snow and transport delays to come and talk about how we can serve you better) and it was a real eye opener. It really helped me to gain clarity on the value that we uniquely offer … Smart, practical help for women business owners. They used words like nurturing, intelligent, useful, practical, inspirational and lots of other lovely adjectives. And I realised that it didn’t matter than there was another site out there that is growing faster. Our tribe of amazing women are women who are go getters, triers, achievers, learners… women who are looking for like minded women to connect with, learn from, support and enjoy. Women who are committed to their own business success and are open to trying new things.
Comparing ourselves to others can be a really insidious and damaging practice that doesn’t really serve us or our businesses. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses that we can use to great effect and trying to be something that we’re not, can make running our business even tougher than it is normally.
The other problem with watching the competition too much is that it is confusing. What we see are what they want to us to see – not the stuff that is going on behind the scenes.
How to eliminate the competition in one easy step?
Stop competing. Realise that there is no such thing as competition. You don’t need to be a super woman. You just need to create something that is of amazing value to the community of people (and it can be a small one!) that you want to work with. Deliver it in a way that resonates with you and resonates with them and you will have a winning formula.
Business is not a game where there is only one winner. There are lots of suppliers, lots of customers and we can all find our own unique space. Different people / businesses will resonate with different customers. You need to find the ones that are yours.
By watching and focusing on what other people are doing, it takes away your own inspiration and creativity that you can apply to your business. Your ideas will revolve around what they are doing, rather than listening to your own intuition or your own customers.
Find your own inspiration
Much better to learn from other businesses / people who are outside of your own industry or sector than to look to your own. Look to the leaders in other industries and fields and check out what they are doing. What seems to be working really well. Are there things that you can take inspiration from there? Are they doing things that no-one in your industry seems to be doing?
Last year I reviewed a fantastic book called the Click Moment, which theorised that spotting the opportunities in random connections is where the magic happens in our business. Instead of looking to our competitors, try new things, introduce new inputs (like Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Date*) and allow new connections to be made. My inspiration usually comes at 3:00 am in the morning where I literally sit bolt upright with an inspired thought … which is where the name Women Unlimited came from … or in the shower as I’m getting ready in the morning.
The reason that inspiration comes at these times is because my brain is relaxed and I’m not trying to force the answer, rather my subconscious has had the opportunity to process everything and out pops the thought like a new born baby, ready to be nurtured into life.
Emphasize what makes you special
Understanding what makes you stand out from crowd is critical to eliminating the competition because it allows you to focus on your differences. Competing for new clients based purely on price is a sure fire way to ensure that your business won’t survive past the next 12 months.
Find something in your business that others aren’t offering … either not to your current marketplace or in a way that is difficult for anyone else but you to deliver.
Do a quick sense check that this is something that your audience want to buy at the price that is profitable for you. The easiest way to do this is test the market. Pre-sell what you have to offer or create a basic version that you can offer at a lower price with a premium option for those that want more.
Find out why those people bought from you, where they came from and where you can find others that are just like them.
Step 4: Always and continually deliver amazing value and an excellent product or service and they will keep coming back, no matter what others in your marketplace are doing.
One of the really heartening things that came out of our focus group on Monday was that for the women in the room, Women Unlimited didn’t have any competition. They genuinely couldn’t think of anyone that gives them what we give them in the way that works for them.
What we have is unique to us and our community and for that I am extraordinarily grateful. I am constantly looking to do more / be more / help more but for now I’m really happy with where we are are right at this moment.
Have you registered for the Women Unlimited Conference: Thrive 2013! Come along and meet 200 other amazing women who are part of this fantastic community and give your business and yourself a fresh injection of inspiration and insight to propel you forward in 2013.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/35242106@N04/3267859159/