Years ago I worried about what my competitors were doing. Were they doing something better than me? Were they stealing my customers? Were they stealing my employees?
I don’t worry anymore. I don’t even think I have competitors because I have made them completely irrelevant. Sure, there are other companies in my market that seem to offer the same trade-lines that I do, but trust me—they are NOT competition!
You might be wondering how I can say that they are not competition. Well, the simple answer is: Competition is when two businesses try to serve exactly the same customers in exactly the same market. So I don’t do that and you won’t have any competition.
Make Your Competition Irrelevant
Get clear about who you serve. Figure out who your exact customer is. If your competitor is serving the same customer as you then consider serving someone different. Create an avatar (a word-picture describing your typical customer) and think about what’s important to them, then adjust your business to meet their needs.
Get clear about where you work. You might think that you and your competitor work in the same market… but do you? Or do you actually serve adjacent markets? Maybe you tend to work the north side of the city more than they do; maybe they cover the urban areas and you cover the rural areas. Maybe you work on certain days that they don’t. Maybe you work on certain types of houses or systems that they don’t. Find the difference and exploit it.
Become an expert in something. Every business focuses on something, and, by default, they ignore other things. Figure out what your competitor is ignoring and focus on that. (For example: if your competitor serves new homes, become an expert in old homes.)
As an added bonus: You’ll be able to charge more because your customers will see you as an expert.
Make your brand more memorable. Here’s the raw truth that no service business owner wants to hear: most home service brands are very weak and forgettable. Make yours more memorable to stand out from the crowd rather than trying to blend in.
Get focused on your marketing. Chances are, your competitor is spending a lot of money to try and reach the entire city or town. They spend a lot and their trucks are racing all over the place, spreading their brand and marketing message very thinly across the city. You should focus your plumber marketing on just one area—on a neighborhood, for example—so your trucks don’t have to drive as far and so the people in that neighborhood see your brand over and over and over.
Become an amazing employer. If you are the best employer in town, with a strong culture and fair pay and amazing career advancement opportunities, you will lock your employees into your company and keep them away from your competition.
Your competition might be trying to steal your customers or your employees. Let them try. Use these strategies to create a stronger business and to make your competitor irrelevant. Then, you can focus on growing your business and you’ll love the thought that you’re thinking about your customers while your competitors are spending a lot of time worried about you.