A trainer came to me recently concerned about some of the competition in his area. He said something like…
“I’ve worked so hard to build up my business and now Orange Theory opened up right by us. I can’t compete with their marketing budget.”
I listened as this passionate professional vented his frustration. My initial reaction was to just “fix” his problems. But I wanted to understand – to see it from his standpoint.
Once I did that, I asked him some questions:
- What is it that you’re most worried about?
- Do you think there is any good that could come out of this?
- What can you offer that OT or anyone else can’t or won’t?
- What’s different about your solution?
I’d like to believe that he walked away feeling much better about the situation.
For the most part, we’re all in the same boat. My facilities are on Long Island, NY – Lots of competition there. Within a small radius, there are Crossfits, Orange Theory locations, and a host of other potential solutions for people. A former employee opened a facility right down the block to make things even more “interesting.” Many people are afraid of competition but I’d like to offer a different perspective.
Check out what someone who knows just a bit about marketing says about the topic.
From Seth Godin’s blog:
In search of competition
The busiest Indian restaurants in New York City are all within a block or two of each other.
Books sell best in bookstores, surrounded by other books, their ostensible competitors.
And it’s far easier to sell a technology solution if you’re not the only one pioneering the category.
Competition is a signal. It means that you’re offering something that’s not crazy. Competition gives people reassurance. Competition makes it easier to get your point across. Competition helps us understand that people like us do things like this.
If you have no competition, time to find some.
Here are some additional thoughts about competition and/or how to beat it.
All people, especially entrepreneurs are fueled by a desire to win. If there is no competition, victory isn’t as rewarding. That’s partly why giving all kids a trophy or not keeping score even for young kids, is a terrible idea. It doesn’t teach reality.
In life, there is winning and losing. Without competition, we can easily get complacent.
I’ve seen this firsthand. We’d been “winning” anyway recently so why bother putting in the extra effort to get better? I’m not proud of that but it happened sort of subconsciously. Now because of the competition and recent turn of events, we have a new spark and we are getting further ahead than ever.
The best way to beat the competition is to be better but more importantly, be different.
Being different confuses a lot of people. I mean, how different can we be? We’re just training people right?
Being different doesn’t have to be doing something completely unique. It can be but it’s more about the unique combination of your values that make you different. What are the 2-3 things that you do really well and are unique to you in combination?
Chances are, that combination can help you stand out in the marketplace.
I recently took a group of clients to the park for a workout and I was pleased to hear a conversation between 2 members, Sonji and Christine.
They were talking about the other less expensive options out there and how they would never be interested. I remember hearing Sonji say, “I’d never get a call from the owner on my birthday at those other places and would never get the same level of support. They just don’t care as much at those other places.”
Christine agreed and shared how she went to one of those “other” places and people weren’t friendly or helpful. What’s most important about what Sonji and Christine were saying was how much they valued the service they get.
Value can be a very subjective thing. It’s our job to make sure we are providing and helping people see that value.
Our job isn’t that complicated.
First, find the ideal people for you to work with. That includes people that will value what you’re offering. Get in front of them as often as possible. This might be your number one job.
Then, make sure you deliver on your promise. After that, keep proving to them that they made the best decision for themselves. Pretend all of your members have the option to go somewhere else.
I think the best way to differentiate ourselves is with our service and fun, family atmosphere. People love the atmosphere of a “Small Facility” setting.
They will pay much more, sometimes double for this type of experience. This is a huge win-win. We can make the same money (or more) from less people allowing us to have more satisfaction and adding deeper value to them.
They get a non-intimidating atmosphere where they can thrive and finally live the life of their dreams. It’s so awesome.
By William Hofacker
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