25 Aug Future Entrepreneurs: Eclipse Your Competition
“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” ~Steve Jobs
[Stanford University commencement speech, 2005]
[Photo: Barry Butler Photography: http://www.barrybutlerphotography.com]
5 Tips on Eclipsing the Competition
This week a total solar eclipse swept across America, August 21, 2017. Eclipses happen about every six months, but for the first time in nearly 40 years, the path of the moon’s shadow passes through the continental United States.
The darkness may have come as surprise to some people who were not checking their clocks. Others have planned for this event for years. And what does the solar eclipse have to do with branding and being an entrepreneur, you may ask?
Well first of all, Simonetta Lein asked me to write this blog because of my book and brand “Secrets to Shine Through the Noise”. I am grateful for our Twitter family/tribe and social media friends who helped make the #solareclispe2017 a great celebration with many mentions of ways we #ShineThroughtheNoise! We even reached 1000 posts on Instagram in under a year, so thank you! (Now it is not just my posts.)
The solar eclipse is a stellar metaphor for the importance of knowing your own strengths (shine) and how to outshine your competition. Entrepreneurs who look ahead and plan for exceptional events, and share authentic moments are in the best position to influence the experience of audiences to their advantage.
We all have some form of competition, which is healthy in business. Competition forces us to bring our best. The challenger on your heels pushes you to train harder, reach farther and think deeper. We can learn from the successes and failures of a worthy rival. Competition keeps the game more interesting and fun as well.
Instead of dreading competition, put these strategies into play to meet the challenge:
1. Shift Your Perspective
If your first instinct is to panic when you see there are more brands entering your space, realize this: competition is proof that you are doing something right. If you were the only one in your industry, you may not have much of a business concept. When others are getting in on it, that means you’re on to something! Competition can be outer noise within your industry. And inner noise when you doubt yourself. Either way, we are setting you up to shine through the noise.
2. Listen to Your Inner Voice
This is the voice that first told you that you could follow your dream. Maybe it sounds like your mother or grandfather, or like Maya Angelou or your best friend. This has become your voice and your dream, no matter the source. Focus on your WHY. We talked about this early on in our entrepreneur journey together.
The premise is that companies can focus on WHAT they sell (the products) and HOW they sell (pricing, or social buzz), but the best companies focus on WHY they do what they do. This is the heart of an entrepreneur. And it is an authentic way to introduce people and prospects to your core values and motivations for building this service/product and sharing it with the world. When you invest time into defining your WHY, it builds a very powerful story your people and prospects can get behind and align with.
3. Know Your Competition
Do enough research so you know who you are dealing with, and what they have coming out in the next 6 months. Then, plan ahead…and play to win. Your competitor may have a larger budget and a bigger team, but don’t dwell on that. They don’t have your expertise or your passion. They have nothing on your experience and the lessons you’ve learned. Quiet the outer noise of their opinions. Listen in and focus on your competitive advantage and the way to share your story.
4. Refine Your Focus & Features
Hopefully you have taken notes along the way when we started exploring your WHY and while exploring mindfulness. If you haven’t, that’s OK. Recommit.
An excellent place to start to differentiate yourself from the competition is on the features or focus side of things. Have you built out a certain part of your platform because you think it matters most in your industry? Maybe you are strong with photography and language abilities. Whatever your strongest feature set is, start there. Create a story. We are building a foundation on your WHY. You then show how your strongest feature benefits your people and your prospects. We have fleshed out more entrepreneurial strengths and suggestions over the last 5 months, so take 10 minutes and write down what comes to mind when asked what your best feature is.
Then take 10 minutes and write about how your brand is focused on your strength.
5. Take the High Road
Don’t. Play. Dirty. Competing entrepreneurs and businesses can co-exist within an industry and even cooperate on occasion. If an opponent pulls a dirty trick, like stealing your photos or client list, don’t retaliate. If your competitor is willing to stoop that low, chances are that client service is not their top priority. Your clients will come back once they realize their mistake. And they will see your strength.
You might dread thinking about what the competition is up to. However, it’s essential to know this if you’re going to help your brand succeed, and then eclipse your competition. You and your WHY are worth it.
If you haven’t watched Simon Sinek’s TED talk on the Golden Circle Theory, check it out. [https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action ]
Listen in for more on the eclipse from NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/johnson/HWHAP/total-eclipse-over-america
Thank you to our readers and Twitter family! We welcome your comments below.
How will you shine through the noise?
Have a wonderful week!
Cheers and fair winds,
Akasha Garnier for The Wishwall
Author, Brand Expert, Filmmaker
Read more from Future Entrepreneurs: http://thewishwall.org/future-entrepreneurs