I have often heard it said in business that if you want to be successful you should emulate others who have achieved success. As a business owner myself, I have read many books from people who have come before me, those I admire in business, and those I’d like to follow in terms of success. The trick here as a business owner is to learn from them – not to copy them.
As small business owners, I know it can be tempting to look at your competition and think to yourself, “I need my web site to look my competitors’.” We hear this often with small businesses that are starting out, asking us to design a website that looks and acts like their competition. Our advice is to find your own voice!
Here are some tips to get you started in finding your own web personality and to stop copying your competition.
Define Your Business Goals
You have heard me say this before, but it is so important that your business goals are different than your competitors’. You must be clear about what your website needs to accomplish. You do not know what your competitors are trying to accomplish, so attempting to match them may cause you more harm than good.
Why Are You Different
Remember, they are your competitors. If a customer sees your website and their website side-by-side, what will make you different? If you’re just like your competitor, the customer may go with name recognition. If you do not differentiate who you are as a business, what is your competitive advantage? Why should your customer choose you? This is the case with every business, from choosing a business service to buying any type of fashion product.
Create Your Own Personality
It’s a social world and people want to do business with someone they like. In a virtual world, you can’t always meet your customer face-to-face; therefore, we rely on website design and branding to communicate our company’s personality. This is a big reason why people will give you, the unknown business, a chance – they connect with your personality. People have given me chosen to work with me because of my logo and company name – why should I give you a chance?
I know reviewing our competitors is just good business, but before you start evaluating them, you need to be clear about you. Here is where I put my “therapist” hat on and say – you need to know who you are and believe in that vision before you can start looking at other companies.