By Dawnell Kelly—
In today’s world of small businesses, competitive analysis is at the forefront of every marketing strategy. However, as a business owner you understand the importance of critical, objective thinking.
This leads to innovative ideas and new pathways for business growth. Applying this concept to your current competition will give you an edge; a desirable, simmering secret–collaboration.
Collaboration is an often-overlooked opportunity to astronomically expand your business. Through strategizing with your competitors, you can leverage this newly formed network to attract an abundance of customers.
Picture this: You’re growing week after week, breaking through sales goals, and planning even more ways to serve your customers. The best part? All your customers are a perfect match for your business. They resonate with your services, leave rave reviews and love your team.
As a bonus, your workplace culture is healthier than ever, as you’re able to provide top tier pay, educational resources and support for your happy, loyal team.
Does this sound a little naive? Oversimplified? I hear someone yelling in the back, “Business is supposed to be complicated!” I get it. If running a business was easy, everyone would do it. However, easy and simple are not the same. Collaboration is simple, but not always easy.
Now critical, objective thinking–which you excel at as a business owner–demands you consider this point of view. Without further ado, let’s welcome collaboration as the bold new look of business growth!
The more you know, the more you grow. This includes women business owners in your industry. I’m not saying to blast your trade secrets; merely suggesting you connect with other strong contenders.
Be the first place your customers consider. Replace the random internet searches. Chances are your businesses are not identical. Discern your differences and appeal to customers in a wider range.
From there, customers can choose their best match. Perhaps more athletic people choose your business, while stay-at-home-moms prefer another. But they all start their search within your network.
Exceptional Customer Service
There’s no need to sacrifice customer service. If you can’t keep up with demand without sacrificing service, you need to hire, delegate and collaborate. There’s only so much time in a day–meaning your business has a max capacity of operations.
Once you reach that threshold, you hire or engage a waitlist. A minimal wait time is understandable. More than a month isn’t ideal. Trade the long-term waitlist for a referral-based directory with an ROI that will maintain your steady growth.
Does this sound like a contradiction? How do you grow if you’re giving business away? Play the long game. This is why patient, innovative thinkers always win. Build a reputable referral network collectively known as your industry’s gold standard.
Let’s go shopping
Picture a shopping mall. People typically spend money in more than one store within the mall. It’s doubtful they’re shopping on the outskirts of town, too.
Now you say, “But they offer many different services in a mall!” Yes, in this scenario the customer is buying many different things. Now zoom out. The mall is the attraction. The convenience of many options.
Take this concept and niche it down to your industry. Take back your power from freelance sites and random directories. Imagine being part of a powerhouse of women in your industry. Now you’re the mall. You’re the one-stop-shop people go to first.
This isn’t a simple affiliate program. This is a game changer.
No more spying, stressing or desperately copying the competition. Embrace your uniqueness. Focus on providing the best service you can. Then do better.
Spend your scheming time going on retreats with your former competitors. Brainstorm innovative ways to further empower your network. Dominate in your industry together. Take back your power as women-led businesses.
Consider online dating. You type in the list of qualifications on a dating site and get several matches. How do you decide who to date? They’re all the same on paper.
You decide using the intangible—what feels right. Now apply this to your business:
Obviously, you’re not going to refer your customers to others without providing the best experience you can. However, not every customer is going to be a perfect fit.
When they gently break up with you, learn why, then offboard them compassionately. Recommend a better fit instead of harassing them to come back for the next 6 months. This will garner you a reputation as an authentic business to work with and for.
Your Most Powerful Self Imaginable
Wealth equals influence. Wealthy women banding together make real change. They pave the way for more women-led businesses to grow and thrive.
An increase in wealthy women brings an increase in cultural and societal change. Everything from equal pay and better benefits to a more women-friendly culture.
Supporting fellow women entrepreneurs by connecting, referring and growing together is empowerment embodied.
As a small business owner, you need a resilient network in the long run. Larger companies will continue to offer quicker, easier and cheaper options. We all want to thrive in our businesses and now we can do it together. With modern technology, customers are more accessible than ever.
Now you see how this can benefit you. It is possible to collaborate with your competition. Simple, even.
The logical next step leads you to join forces and set the trail ablaze as you attract an astonishing amount of customers from a higher level. Circumventing paid ads, your network is now the gold-standard of your industry by choosing collaboration over competition.
I’m Dawnell Kelly, the CEO of Auxly – a project management agency for women-led businesses. Check out www.auxlyhelp.com and connect with me on LinkedIn.