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Some people say that imitation is a great form of flattery. That may be true but in business it can also mean defeat.

Every business (particularly small business) needs to have something that customers uniquely value.

“Me too” businesses are doomed to compete on price and that can lead to a bidding war where the only winners then are the consumers. And as other “me too” businesses do the same, profit margins become thinner and thinner for not just your competitors, but for your business too.

By making it easy for your business to be compared to other businesses you are welcoming unnecessary risk into your business.

What’s the alternative? Be different.

Apple is a great example of this. Their design, innovation and usability are what sets them apart from their competitors. An iPod is certainly not the cheapest mp3 player out there, yet people are more than happy to pay any price to have one.

I think too often we are trying to compete on price alone. People will often very gladly pay for great service and convenience. Customer service, quality and ease of use will cause repeat business whereas competing on price is always far more risky. Identify what is (or should be) unique about your business outside of price and make sure this point of difference is communicated loud and clear.

Rather than copy your opposition – be better than them.

  • What about your business?
  • What are your strengths and unique selling points (USP)?
  • What distinguishes you from your competitors?
  • How do you communicate USP to your potential customers and existing customers?

What do you think?

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Rick Mapperson

Rick Mapperson

Rick Mapperson is the founder and managing director of Rick Mapperson and Associates ( http://sydneyinsurancebroker.com.au/), a personal insurance brokerage. Rick has been insuring people, particularly small business owners, for twenty years. Rick combines his skills as a licensed Financial Planner and his understanding as the co-founder of an Australian charity focused on families, to understand the best interests of his clients. You can follow Rick on twitter @RickMapperson

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