There are so many upsides to there being more creatives out there, because in general, the creative world is still a little backwards. As artists, we’re often not taken seriously, and our value is only apparent if we’re famous or dead, it seems, so the more successful creative businesses there are, the better we do as a whole. However, there is a downside to welcoming new businesses - and that’s competition.
Competition sounds scary to a lot of people - and I hear this often in my Coaching Sessions. “There’s so much competition,” “They always go with someone cheaper,” “This other photographer keeps stealing my clients”, but the truth is that competition can be so much more than that!
I choose to view competition as a tool, rather than a threat, for mostly selfish reasons - as an entrepreneur, I don’t need one more thing to stress out over, so I pick those battles carefully. It’s simpler for me to embrace the competition, so that’s what I do. Plus, if you view your competition as a friendly tool, you can use it to get better at what you do. So today we’re covering all the different things you can learn from your competition.
This process has 3 main steps:
Research Your Competitors
Research your competition to see how they’re doing things. This will show you what your clients are expecting when they come to you, as far as service, pricing, and processes. Having a handle on what they’ll see elsewhere allows you to figure out what you want to show them.
Take What You Like
If you think clients will appreciate their pricing sheet, or the way their contact form is set up - the good news is that you can do that too! I’m not saying to copy them directly, but if there are pieces of their business that you think clients will respond well to, then you can most likely adapt this to your business as well. As a disclaimer, make sure you don’t take something trademarked, copyrighted, or proprietary, and make sure you DO NOT COPY. This is more about overarching themes and processes than about specific ideas. Remember, the clients are likely reaching out to them too - and if you stole an idea, it’ll be obvious by whose is better.
3. Leave What you Don’t
And conversely, leave what you don’t like. If there are things that you think clients won’t respond well to, don’t do those things. And better yet, figure out how to do them better in a different way, so that you can stand out from the competition. The only way to win those leads is to fully understand what you can offer that the competition cannot. Set yourself apart, and highlight those things that you know no one else in the area offers.
Lastly, all competition are not tools, so don’t treat them as such. Some of my best friends are my competition, and I learn from them every day. These are just other entrepreneurs hustling the same way you are, so try to celebrate their wins and use their success to motivate, not detract from, your own.
If you lose a client to someone, it’s not because they cheated or rigged the system - it’s because there was something you could’ve done to be a better fit for that client.
Figure out what that is, and work harder so you can win next time!