Back in my baseball coaching days I read a book by a famous football coach who had taken a job at a University with limited resources.
He recognized that he couldn’t instantly do the same things his competition was doing better than they were doing it.
With that in mind he knew that to beat them he had to do things differently than those competitors were doing then.
So he approached the way his team played in a very different way than the competition….and he won.
He was different.
I took the same type of approach when I was coaching college baseball.
We approached the way that we played and the way we trained in a significantly different way than our opponents did – and it turned our program into a winner.
In the world of fitness business we saw ‘different’ show up in a big way with the advent of bootcamps.
The norm was 1 on 1 training.
When bootcamps came along they were a breath of fresh air because someone could get coaching for $15 a session instead of $55-75.
Bootcamps spread like wildfire.
That’s the norm.
When something new comes along and is well received, more often than not competitors follow suit.
Now bootcamps or some other iteration of group based training is on every corner.
So what do you do when the competition sees what you’re doing and jumps on the bandwagon?
Because they will.
Heck – they should.
If something works, as a business owner you’re being negligent if you’re not trying to use it to improve your business if it’s a fit.
The actual answer to how you combat it is pretty simple:
You just be better than they are.
If you’re the first to a market or a niche or a strategy – then you have a head start, but you don’t have a monopoly.
So get ahead and stay ahead.
Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s had an answer for this when asked about the other fast food chains and how they imitated McDonald’s.
He said “we can innovate faster than they can imitate.”
That’s really it. Keep blazing the trail. Stay out in front.
Part of that may seem challenging – you feel like you have to be innovative.
Really, you don’t have to do anything revolutionary.
You just need to keep improving what you already do.
You’re reading this so that probably isn’t inconsistent with what you’re already doing.
You’re already committed to improving.
The other part is simply being congruent.
When competitors try to imitate what you do, they’re doing it because they want to make a quick buck.
They’re not committed.
You are committed so make EVERYTHING you do congruent with the way that you’ve positioned yourself.
So here’s a simple example:
Let’s say that you’re a very relationship driven business.
When people ask what sets you apart you happily talk about the relationships you have with your clients.
You’re the anti-big box club.
Plenty of other businesses will say they care about their clients.
They’ll say that they’re a relationship driven business.
Easily said…not easily done.
So if they say what you say – the way you stay ahead is for you to live it.
When you have a client celebrating a wedding anniversary – you send a gift.
When you have a client whose child graduates high school – you send a gift.
When a client mentions something important in their life that’s happening – you follow up on it to see how it went.
When a young athlete you coach has a big game – you show up and support them.
When someone misses a session, you text to see that they’re alright.
That’s being relationship driven.
Anyone can say that’s them…but 99% of people won’t do those things.
And what if you tell people that you get results.
Everyone says they get results, right?
Nothing special there.
Do you offer a Double Your Money Back Guarantee to your clients ensuring that they’ll get results?
That’s being congruent.
That’s putting your money where your mouth is.
Do you think all those other people in your town that say they get results will do that?
Not a chance.
It’s all pretty straightforward.
If you want to be the top business in your area then you need to identify what you are.
If you’re different then what else is out there it will be easy to stand out.
If not – no sweat.
Even if your message is similar to others in your market – then win by being better.
Very simple…but very effective.
By Pat Rigsby