Now we have an idea of what business you’re in and who you want to serve, it’s important to have a look at what’s already out there and how you can stand out from the crowd.
I recommend not skipping this part even though it’s a little scary and you may feel you can’t compete.
You absolutely can compete and you may not come up with what makes you unique straight away, but by doing this exercise it will open your eyes to what other people are doing in your niche and give you lots of ideas of how you can emulate / do better!
Take from this the positives and believe in your ideas my friend.
You’re already a legend for getting this far and having such a fabulous dream in the first place.
So don’t make it hard to succeed and start comparing your beginning to someone else’s years of experience.
Soak up their experience and use it to leap frog your own journey.
You can download this as a PDF doc here to print out and work on. Just right click and save as.
1. List your 3 biggest competitors or sites you’d most like to emulate to base this research on.
2. What 3 things catch your eye about their business first?
3. List their key services / products and how much they charge.
4. What 3 things do they do particularly well?
5. What 3 things do they do poorly?
6. List some special offers or unique services they are promoting.
7. Have they got any guarantees? What are they?
8. What can they guarantee that you can’t?
9. What MUST businesses in this niche guarantee?
10. What else catches your eye?
11. Describe your target market (this should be easy after yesterday)
12. List 10 values / services that you think would be most important to your customer – i.e price, customer service, speed, quality etc. Then rank in order of priority 1 – 10.
13. List 10 ways of reaching your target market.
14. Describe your perception of the industry you are in
15. How do you think the industry has changed in the last 5 years?
16. What changes do you expect to see in the next 12 – 18 months?
17. Now take the 5 most important things for your customers and describe what the perceived standards and / or reputation of each value or service is in the industry.
18. How would you like your business to compare to these standards?
Your Customers Opinion
19. What 3 things would you like your customers to say about you?
20. How could you survey the market to find out what customers are saying about your competitors?
21. List 10 ways you could convert competitor customers to your customers.
22. Getting testimonials is always tough at the start of a business. List 10 ways you could get honest and worthy testimonials including who you might get them from.
23. Once you have customers on board, list 5 meaningful ways to retain them.
Your Ideal World
24. List 3 things that you cannot confidently guarantee that you would love to be able to?
25. What is the one thing that if you could guarantee it, would make you the market leader? (Think Big!)
26. In an ideal world, what would you like your customers to see as the main point of difference between you and your competitors?
27. Think of 3 industries completely different from yours and ‘personalise’ an idea that could give your business a real point of difference.
Your USP & Guarantee
28. What unique services or values can you offer your customers?
29. What guarantees can you offer your customers?
30. My USP & Guarantee is;
Don’t worry if you haven’t been able to answer all the questions, this is a working document and it may take you some time to figure out exactly where you can stand out.
However, hopefully by going through this exercise it will have given you some great ideas and made you far more aware of what’s out there and what your customers / competitors might be thinking!