It would be a dream if you were the only one in the world who had a book to promote, a story idea to pitch, or a product that is the best thing since sliced bread.  The reality is there is generally not one but dozens, maybe hundreds or thousands, of others with similar agendas; you are not alone.

But you may be thinking…what does that have to do with me?  Why should I care about other competitors in the marketplace, and what can business coaching do for me?  The reason is those competitors are vying for the same attention you want from the media and the market.  The best way to distinguish yourself is to be different.  But you can’t be different if you don’t know your competitors.

What do you offer that makes you a better interview or guest speaker than the next person? To find out more about your competitors and how to differentiate yourself, do your research:

Read! Read! Read!

Pick up publications that feature competitors in your industry.  Trade publications like Adweek are great resources for finding out what others are doing and may even contain lists of those in your industry.  Once you find out who does what you do, you can start to find out how they conduct their business.  The more you know, the more you can truly review your own business or product or book and see if you have a unique proposition in the market, or if you are merely rehashing what someone else is doing.

Know what competitors offer

Being unique even in a homogenous industry is encouraged.  The more you seem like everyone else, the more you lose your opportunity to build value to what you offer.  For example, if there are a dozen event planners in your area and you try to offer the same services with no special features to your service, it is easy for a potential client to go with the lowest bid.  But, if you know that you can offer not only event planning but also public relations services that no one else is providing, this could make you different from the other planners and make you the better option even with a higher bid. By knowing your competitors you can bring a distinctive experience to the table. Be unique in a sea of sameness!

Shop your competitors

If it makes sense for your industry, buy from your competitor or go into their store.  If you are a service oriented business, try to attend an event or speaking engagement that is associated with the competitor.  Getting close to them in their environment will tell you a lot about how their customers or clients respond to them.  This is helpful in understanding how you can create a better experience for your business.

It should go without saying in this technology-driven age but…make sure to check out competitors’ social media and online footprint.  This will give you tons of information on what they offer, any recommendations about their services or any media they have done.  A little bit of time and research and business coaching can go a long way to making you stand out above the rest in your marketplace.