Not the first or last….but the ONLY

Subway, Jimmy Johns and your local favorite lunch spot all sell sandwiches.

Nordstrom, Target and your local favorite boutique all sell clothes.

Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and your local favorite cafe all sell coffee.

And they all have their own followings, loyal fans and successful businesses.

Why do entrepreneurs fear seeing competitors crop up? If anything, this should validate that there is a market need for your product or service out there. Your job is not to try to capture EVERYONE who wants what you have, but  to figure out how to position your mousetrap to a specific group of people as better/faster/higher-end/casual….fill in the blank. Keep tabs on what the competition is doing and what story they are telling. Then find the whitespace that they miss to claim as your own.

If you have a strong, unique, consistent and clear brand story to tell, competition should never scare you.

This is where ideal customer targets become so important. Nordstrom goes after a different customer than Target does. Your local sandwich shop claims customized, personal service to their regulars, where they know your name and that you love extra pickles. Subway is about fast, consistent, good subs, no matter which location you hit. These “brand promises” appeal to different people. In some cases, they may appeal to the same person, depending on that person’s mood. But it’s about which “personality” to which you want to consistently appeal.

Don’t let competition scare you. Learn from it. Position against it. Take what they are not taking. There is room for lots of different players in the same industry. What sets you apart is your target customer, your brand story and vibe and – most importantly – YOU.  You bring a unique set of talents, skills and experience to your business that no one else can claim. Own that, tout that, and infuse that personality and those values into your business. No one can copy that.

 Photo credit: Through my Eyes, Flickr

In your industry, what is one unique trait that makes you stand out? Is it what you offer, how you offer it, where you offer it, your personality, your look and feel? Share in the comments and get some link love back to your site.


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