Part of what I do allows me to interact with small business owners in almost every imaginable industry. One thing that I love to ask small business owners is, “Who is your competition?” The reason I enjoy that question, is most small business owners don’t think about business as a competition at all, let alone the proper approach towards it.
If I were to ask a massage therapist who their competition is, the most likely answer would be for them to name one or two other massage therapists in their area. The more astute will suggest that businesses of similar service (nail salon, mud wrap day spa, etc) are their competition. While both answers are correct, both answers are sadly incomplete.
When you are in business you are in business to make money. That means any other business, person, organization, or entity that also wants money is your competition.
Let’s say you own a martial art school. If someone spends disposable income on going to the movies and purchasing the latest video game every month then that is money they can’t spend on martial art lessons. Unfortunately what usually happens is the martial art instructor would think only the other schools in his/her area are competition.
The practical business application of this means that your marketing needs to be formulated to combat all your competition. While a martial art school was the example, it is true for every business. When a business does its marketing geared toward just their industry they experience poor ROI and blame the form of marketing rather than the focus of marketing for their poor results.
The three industries that seem to violate this logic most often, and it saddens me, are the Direct Sales Industry, the “success” industry, and the fitness/wellness industry. For some unknown reason these three industries are more guilty than most in their industry inbread marketing. Are there more fit people or more fat people? Then why are you marketing your new supplement at a fitness show? Are there more people who are into the self-help industry or out of it? Then why are you marketing primarily at other success seminars? Note how I hope the reader is smart enough to figure out these questions. While I think you should do some industry advertising because it helps build a small core base, all successful brands focus most of their advertising to the larger segments of potential customer base. Seems to be common sense, but common sense isn’t that common anymore.
There is a wonderful strategic benefit when you approach your marketing with the understanding that you are competing against every other business for your customers money, and that is your industry competition is still only trying to compete with you inside your industry! Let me ask you a question, if you owned a firearms sales business, for example, are their more people who are gun fanatics or more people who don’t know a thing about guns? Exactly, more people don’t know a thing about guns. Let’s say in a population of 100,000 people, 10% are gun magazine subscribing, gun show attending, shoot every weekend sort of people (which is a high percentage). That means industry advertising generates only 10,000 possible customers. If you have three industry competitors (4 total gun shops to service the population) and the three competitors get 100% industry focused customers and you get none, each of your competitors would get 3,333 customers. Meanwhile you get only 30% of the non-industry customers, which is 27,000 customers! Or to put it a better way, while your industry competition was focused on the industry, you out performed them by 900% thus allowing you to kick your industry competition’s butt beyond recognition!
So, today, look at your true competition and get in the game to win what businesses use as a score card…money!
Josh Tolley is a business and behavioral strategist. His latest book, “Quit Your Job or Die: Discover the Importance of Self-Employment” has been a top ten best seller for over 16 weeks. He has been seen on NBC, CBS, on over 100 stations nationwide and he has been heard from coast to coast on the radio. His teachings have been implemented by hundreds of people and dozens of businesses around the globe. He is ranked as one of the top 100 business and personal growth trainers in the world and is the developer of many human interaction technologies. Josh does take on a VERY limited number of personal clients, to discuss this or to book Josh for a seminar in your area, contact Mike with The Annex Project at 626-893-4917 or email@example.com. You can also find out more about what Josh is up to at www.JoshTolley.com