Competition or Network?

Competitors or Networking

It is a business fact that we will have competition. No matter how small our market area is, someone else will be offering the same or similar services and be after the same customers.  This is not a bad thing.  And our competitors are not bad people.  In fact, competition can work to our advantage.

We need to make sure we stand out from the competition in the eyes of our potential customers, and we can do this in many different ways.  Think about what makes our services unique and promote that aspect; we can concentrate our marketing on a particular service, add a “look” to our services by adding characters – there are many different ways we can do this.

Also, make friends with your competitors – as a one-person business reality is that we will be in a situation where we have to turn down work due to availability issues – being able to refer jobs to each other on a reciprocal basis is to everyone’s advantage.  Helping each other out when we have bookings requiring additional artists, lending supplies in an emergency, or just getting together to talk and jam is to everyone’s benefit.

In any market, there will be niches – birthday parties, corporate for private parties, fairs and festivals, promotional events – all have slightly different requirements.  Everyone will have their preferred area to work in, and that work will tend to go to the person who is specializing.  For example, my main competitor is a clown who offers face painting as part of a total party package – I only provide face painting.  We refer work to each other regularly when the client’s needs are a better fit, and we often work at the same large public events.

So don’t look at your competition as the enemy. Welcome them into your network of friends and use the relationship to build up both businesses.

© Shannon Fennell 2009

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