I believe Jim Rohn was the first to say that you become like the five people with whom you spend the majority of your time. And, if positioning yourself positively and successfully in the marketplace is one of your goals, you’ll likely spend time with friends and colleagues who technically do what you do and think like you think.
But should that be a bad thing?
Actually, it’s a great thing. I have several colleagues who technically do what I do. (Notice I said technically, the truth is no one can do it the way that you do when you are clear and operating in your divine gifts and talents. Try as they may, they can’t light a candle to you.) But I am also clear how I am different than each of them. Sidebar: Your ideal clients are programmed to notice what is different. I also believe that those who are for you to serve are for you to serve, but you’ve got to do your due diligence to be found by them. If your friends have more exposure, they will likely serve your clients.
Now, despite the growing friendships, it is important to remember that you are building a business and with that comes specific obligations and responsibilities. Now, I know that there are those who believe that we don’t really have competition – and I agree, somewhat. But the truth is, if you serve the same clients (and you’ve yet to figure out how to rise above the noise), you have competition, and it’s your friends.
In this week’s episode of Incredible Factor TV, I’m answering what has to be a serious and tough question from Wednesday:
“Hi Darnyelle. I’m a life/relationship coach and all of my friends are life/relationship coaches too. I’m doing ok in my business but recently when I was talking with a friend/colleague, she mentioned that she had a conversation with a person who is also considering working with me…what do you do when your friends do the same thing that you do, and you start to feel like you’re competing for the same clients?”
Check out my response to Wednesday’s question in this week’s episode of Incredible Factor TV:
As I share in the episode, there’s more than one way to handle a situation like this. On one hand, you can develop a strategy to split the market. On the other, you can make a decision to shift your marketing and efforts to rise above your competition. The choice is entirely yours. Regardless of which direction you decide to go in, here are five tips to consider:
- Set parameters for your business relationships. I highly recommend that you don’t “swap” client stories or share core strategies for growing your business. This is after all, business. And it’s possible that your “friend” may use one of your core strategies against you. I highly recommend that you don’t be cavalier in your conversations with them and you take the time to develop your very own clear strategy for moving the needle in your business.
- Be very clear about who you serve and how you serve them and ensure that it reflects in your marketing. There’s a lot of people out there who have the exact problem that you solve. Which people do you want to work with? Which subset of the problem are you an expert in solving? Do you have clearly highlighted results that make it easy to see why you’re the obvious choice despite how many other solutions there are out there? Remember, marketing is how you get found. And if you want to get found early and often, you have to ensure that your message and dissemination strategies are sound, strong and specific to those you desire to reach.
- Spend less time “catching up” or “checking in” with friends than you spend in business development mode. If you want to be at the top of your market, you have to spend more time focused on business development. Trust me, I get it. Entrepreneurship and business ownership can be a lonely place and you want to feel like you’re not by yourself. But, you won’t have a business at all if you aren’t focused on business development. A minimum of 90 minutes each day in business development mode is essential, and if you don’t have clients or your practice isn’t full, double that amount of time per day.
- Evaluate the feasibility of a strategic partnership or joint venture. If it makes sense, consider splitting the market with your friends/colleagues. Decide together that you’ll become referral sources for one another and that you’ll each focus on a specific facet of the market so that both of you can win in building your business. If you decide something like this, I recommend that you create a strategic partnership or joint venture agreement so that the terms are clear and there is no confusion. As you evaluate the feasibility of something like this, be clear that you see them as an ideal partner and not that you are just trying to smoke out the competition.
- Consider up-leveling your ideal client. If you feel like you’re competing with too many people, step it up a notch. By raising your ideal client’s profile, you’ll reach a stronger candidate to pay your rates and do the work to get the results they crave. I teach my clients that we should evaluate our ideal clients twice each year, minimally. It may be time to raise their profile so that you can rise above the noise. Remember, there’s always just a few at the top because everyone is busy work at the bottom. 🙂
At the end of the day, regardless of which direction you choose to go with your friends/colleagues, remember that this is YOUR business. You call the shots and decide how you want to build your business. With key strategies and clear direction, you’ll likely notice that your competition tends to dissipate.
Now I want to hear from you, what’s your two cents?: Do you have friends who are also colleagues? Do you feel pressure because you’re serving the same people? What have you done to rise above the noise, protect your relationship and more importantly your business?
I can’t wait to read your two cents!
©2015 by Darnyelle A. Jervey. All Rights Reserved. Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA, The Incredible Factor Business Optimization Coach and Mentor, is the founder of Incredible One Enterprises®, Incredible Factor University® and the Leverage Your Incredible Factor System®, a proven step-by-step program so you experience financial and spiritual abundance in your life because of your business. For more information and a FREE audio CD “7 Critical Mistakes Even Smart Entrepreneurs Must Avoid for Clients, Connection and Cash Flow!” just fill out the form below.