Community vs. Competition

The Value of SynergyIt seems sometimes we send and receive mixed signals.  It can be confusing when trying to create a market identity and also be authentic.  We need to be viewed different from the competition with a unique selling point.  And yet we need to be part of the tribe so that people can relate to us.

So how do we do that?  How do we fit in and yet stand out?  How do we conform but not compromise?

At the end of the day, there are only two things that we need to understand for this to be clear.  People will relate to us when they are convinced that we understand their pain.  That’s where we connect.  People will follow us when they are convinced that we can show them how they can eliminate their pain and experience pleasure instead.  That’s where we’re unique.  We have a shared experience for the challenge and a remedy so unique, it can only be found through us.  It is our emotional, mental and spiritual fingerprint that distinguishes it from all the rest.  Our passion and drive is providing answers – solutions.  That means we’ll bring in the best resources – even when that isn’t us.

Imagine for a moment that you do not have any competitors.  How would that change the way you view all of the participants in your market space?  What if there was just you, those you can help and an entire community of people out there for you to leverage in helping them.  We’re so conditioned to think in terms of competition being about us vs. them.  What if instead of being competitive, we became driven.  Driven to help.  Driven to grow.  Driven to create better resources, smarter questions and more effective answers.

This is not as simple as it may seem as a paradigm shift for how we see ourselves and others that do what we do.  As I’ve been thinking about my own clients and what they need, it has become clearer to me that some of it can be available through me but is not best delivered by me.  That’s a new perspective for someone coming out of the traditions of “Corporate University”.  Give them the absolute best solution.  Even when that’s not you.  That’s how trust develops and it is ultimately how we become the perceived expert.  It’s not that we know the answers.  It’s that we know the questions.  And we know where the best answers can be found. And we’re secure enough in our mission to not only be willing to share those places but to show the way to them.

Here’s a quick exercise for you:

  1. Identify a professional or company that provides a similar service or product
  2. Now come up with 3 ways that a partnership could benefit a shared community

Here’s a second exercise that can also start making this clearer:

  1. Identify a client need that you do not currently meet
  2. Now come up with 3 partners that could solve that need for your clients

Do you see how this shift in your perspective creates more opportunity for you to serve?

In the first exercise – what if you created an association that delivered a higher level of value to both communities through meetings, classes, etc.?  What if you worked together to support a particular charity?  What if you each committed to develop a new product in the next 90 days that would benefit both communities?

For the second exercise, the options are going to depend on what you actually provide and to whom.  For me as a business coach it could be specific skills training, business software, or any number of resources.  It can be something as simple as a recommended reading list.  I am an author but I routinely recommend other people’s work.  Why?  Because they are experts in areas where I am not and that knowledge is essential for my clients.

Have you ever heard of Angie’s List?  I suspect you have.  Here’s a company that has built their entire business platform on their ability to bring solution and need together.  That’s their fundamental value.  Why not make that same principal one of your market values as well?

What were some of your ideas?  What kind of synergies can you create?

Another example of the art of possibility.


About Kathi Laughman

Referred to by her clients as “The Plan B to Z Expert”, Kathi inspires them to see beyond probabilities to possibilities. They are stronger, happier and more financially secure than ever before. The result is the creation of far more value in the rest of their story than they ever dreamed possible. She serves professionals committed to continuously creating new pathways to success and significance.

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