Once a month, over the course of a weekend, I gather those ready to change and I teach them exactly this: How to win. I set them up in businesses with a challenge of beating the competition around them, and I ask them to build a brand, be honest, and show up. As they do, (or don’t do) these things they learn what it takes to keep up with the competition and get ahead in life and be winners.
This is so important that I do it through playing a game, because I really believe that games are a reflection of life and this is the way to learn rapidly and on a deep level. People naturally want to beat the competition, so we see a lot of creativity over the course of the weekend.
If you’ve been to Live it Now, you already know the game I’m talking about, if not, you really need to book in now! I can tell you the ways to keep up with the competition, even how to get ahead, but reading this will only increase your knowledge. Getting out there and taking massive action increases your learning.
It’s not just as simple as a logo and catch phrase. Your brand includes your values, it shows your passion. Your brand explains WHY you are doing your business, what you stand for, and also what makes you different.
Your brand doesn’t just attract. It attracts the right people, engages them, and stays in their memory. To achieve success and beat the competition your branded messages need to be clear, unique and a genuine reflection of what your business is about.
The more clarity and consistency you bring to your brand the more attractive you will be to your niche. With a clear brand you will be powerful enough to attract customers out of their current market and into your own. Why? Simple, you have something they connect with. Something they desire.
The niche can be a stumbling block for some new business starters. They are afraid of being different, worried that they will only succeed if they are all things to all people and therefore are not able to hone in on a brand or target audience.
They go for the blanket approach and want to find a way to sell to everybody. They become magicians trying to pull multi coloured rabbits/goats/convertibles out of various hats. It doesn’t work!
There isn’t a product on the planet that everyone loves. Look at Vegemite, massively successful business, a brand everyone knows, but not everyone loves it, otherwise there wouldn’t be Promite. Promite is specifically for people who don’t like Vegemite and is also a very successful product.
Remember. Sell to people who want what you have. Don’t waste energy converting people who are looking for something different. Be Vegemite, Promite OR peanut butter, not a combination of all three!
It’s the things that make you different that make your business desirable and successful. So build your brand around those differences.
We are all diverse and unique and we have a choice about where we invest our time and resources. We invest in what we love and what we feel is important. This is a great thing, because it means there are always openings in markets for your product. If you like something, chances are there are other people out there that like that too. All you need to do is find them. If you are passionate, honest, and trustworthy, then they will be happy to invest and refer. Clarity of brand is that trustworthy passion they have been searching for!
When you put your brand out there you have no idea who will follow you. The idea of creating an avatar- or a niche, is that you are clear and easy to locate. Any number of people from all walks of life will identify and connect to your brand, you have no idea who or where from. All you need is to have a clear pathway to get to you, and they will come.
90% of success is just showing up!
A closed business mindset is as effective as a closed sign on a shop door. Don’t wait until you have a customer to get to work. Be there with the door open, ready to serve.
If your business is very new you might not have a team just yet. Even if it’s only you, you need to show up every day and be ready. If you do have a team, they need to show up too. As the CEO it’s your example they will follow. Actions speak louder than words, so if you show up and do the work, so will they. Remember, the fish stinks from the head down!
In your own business, you are the CEO. Even if you are the only one, this is a fact, so step up to that. If you hadn’t considered your leadership status before now, you need to develop a bulletproof mindset because a company will never outperform the psychology of the leader.
Nothing is more powerful than a working team or system. A small team of motivated high achievers will always out-perform a big team of unengaged workers!
If you really want to know how to get ahead of the competition you need to question and test. Find out what isn’t working, or what is not running at 100% and fix it.
80% might be operational but it’s not going to move you ahead, it’s also an indication of a weakness that will probably break down. Get honest about what your weakness are and do something about it. When every aspect of what you do is operating at 100% efficiency, you will keep up with even the toughest competition.
You might have to make some tough choices, let a staff member go, put a product on a back burner, increase your working hours. Whatever it is, be willing to do it.
If you have a business partner get very clear on who is responsible for what and where the accountability lies. And what the expectations are.
Check in regularly to make sure you still have the skills you need, that your knowledge of your business and your product in the market is current and get to work as soon as something changes, your business will speak to you!
Nurture Your Database
Once you’ve done the hard work of attracting your customer or client, you’ll want to keep them. Over deliver on what you initially promised, and your customers will become raving fans!
Keeping your existing customers is not only more effective for sales, it’s also a much cheaper marketing platform. You can keep your database warm internally, rather than spending big bucks reaching to the outside world. The great news too is that a nurtured database isn’t stagnant; it grows exponentially as they refer friends, family, and co-workers to your business.
Clients who stay with you are key to beating the competition because they already trust and know you. Loyal clients mean word of mouth advertising, feedback and evaluation opportunities, and a readymade market to test or launch new products to.
Ongoing customers means you are doing things well, if the numbers drop off, start asking questions. You should be just as interested in the numbers of your existing clients as you are about the numbers of new clients.
Nurturing your client database means:
• Staying in touch and establishing a warm relationship of trust
• Giving gifts of time or information so they feel valued and can grow
• Asking questions to get their needs met
• Establishing yourself as the authority
6 ways to nature your database:
1. Give three times as much as you ask: Give educational information that they can use to grow their business. Share what you have learned, what makes you successful, in the form of blogs, downloads, webinars, videos or even links to content you found really helpful.
2. Run competitions so they get to know your products, get excited about their interaction with you, and get a little freebie.
3. Be upfront. Tell them what you want them to do – this comes back to our first tips, people want clarity and, you are the leader, so give them clear instructions on the steps they can take and actions you want from them to get the best outcomes!
4. Give your knowledge away for free in the form of webinars and e-books. Your database grows and they get to stay in touch with your product.
5. Send messages of encouragement, greeting and positivity. It’s quick, easy and reminds them that you are a consistent place of support and assistance. Little things can be just as effective as big ticket items because they don’t take your customers time, and you are not asking anything from them in return.
6. Invite questions. Open up a forum or question space so people can come to you for help or clarity. It’s a really big value add that helps you get ahead of the competition. You will not only establish yourself as an authority but also get in touch with the issues and problems your customer is experiencing in real time.
The biggest thorn in your competitor’s side is that every time a customer is satisfied and stays with your business, they aren’t available to anyone else.
Wow factor works. Give your customer more than they bargained for and they will become an evangelist for your company. Even if your prices are higher than others, over delivering shows value for money. It creates word of mouth marketing, warm referrals, testimonials, feedback and a loyal database.
The great part is it really costs you nothing. All you need to do is give them what you promised, and a little extra you didn’t tell them about. How you surprise them is completely up to you. If they are getting more than they ever wanted, they have no reason to look anywhere else.
One really powerful way to over deliver is to be ahead of the curve. Launch your product before anyone else has and you will be instantly desirable and memorable.
You can do this as a business start up because you have more flexibility. You are small and nimble and can build from scratch. That means creating a product that’s completely new. Challenge and inspire yourself to follow your passion, rather than stay safely tucked up in a product that mimics other people’s success.
Be bold, get curious and be creative. That means get going fast, take massive action and build your product as you go. When you see the look of surprise and admiration on your customers face, don’t be shocked, just say, ‘you’re welcome’ and store that away as a win to be repeated. When you get your first sale, you have your blueprint for success!
Life is business. The steps to beating the competition in business are the same as the steps to getting ahead in life. Get committed, show up, over deliver. By mastering one and applying it correctly, your whole life can become more enriching.