Being the new kid sucks. We’ve all been there. A new school. A new team. A new networking group. It puts us out of our comfort zone and can cause us to not act as our normal selves and not perform at our best.
Being a new business is no different. It’s uncomfortable and intimidating, and many businesses don’t make it out of “new” status. But, there are some things you can do to stay positive, productive, and moving forward towards being a veteran in your industry.
- Remain confident, but not overconfident.
- Differentiate yourself.
- Focus on your clients.
- Reconsider your view of competition.
- Don’t give up.
You’re starting your business for a reason. You have an idea or you are an expert in something. Believe in that. Believe in your gut.
But don’t be overconfident. Know when to ask for help and know that’s ok (encouraged, in fact). Don’t say you have all the answers when you don’t. Others will see through that and lose trust in you and your business.
Know what sets you apart from all of the others in your industry. There is room for more than one business…for more than 20 businesses…in any industry. But also know why potential clients should choose you over others. Maybe you charge less. Maybe your customer service is 2nd to none. KNOW what your unique selling point is, and leverage it.
No matter what, don’t lose focus on the people that are going to make or break you – your current client base. Concentrate too much on what your competition is doing, or over-market due to fear, and you will lose the basis of your business. Serve the clients you have with impeccable attention to detail (as they say, make every client feel like they are your only client), and they are sure to reward you with repeat business and referrals.
In many industries, the concept of competition still has a very negative connotation. If your competition wins, you lose. What I love about the progressive folks in my industry is that collaboration is valued over competition. The thought that we can accomplish greater results when we collaborate and learn with one another, vs. try to undercut one another, is a novel concept that you should learn to grasp no matter what industry you are in. Your “comnpetition” IS likely stronger than you in some areas. Serve your clients well by directing them to those other guys if you know they’ll get better service there. Now THAT is serving your clients well, and I guarantee you’ll get rave reviews, respect, and a smidge of good karma.
You are bound to hit low spots along the way to being considered a veteran in your industry. But you know what? So did the current industry veterans. What will make you stand out and survive is your perserverance in those tough times. Give up too easily and you don’t deserve to thrive. Perservere and come back stronger, and you will see long term success.