Professional services businesses experience similar challenges to most businesses, but there is one issue that they must confront more than most.
First, professional services is an industry where expertise is easily accessed and provided by a large group of competitors of all shapes and sizes. Many businesses have this same challenge.
The big burning issue for professional services providers is this: because people, all people, have a fundamental innate drive to belong and be accepted, services providers have a hard time being unique; it’s uncomfortable, risky and scary to be different and stand out in a crowd. It’s one thing to create a unique product, but it’s a whole different thing to have to market yourself as that unique product!
The professional services market is saturated, there is a great deal of competition, everywhere you look businesses are doing more or less the same thing, and not really doing anything different …
So, as a Professional Services Provider, how do you get noticed and compete successfully?
For starters, we have to make a critical distinction. Simply being Different is a lot harder and much less effective than being Differentiated. Being different used to be enough. It used to be the edge that lifted your company to success; but if you still believe that you must create campaigns, marketing strategies and ‘different’ products and services to stand out, you are mistaken. Today, these tactics have no staying power. Consumers are numb and unresponsive to splashy, gimmicky ideas and marketing. Adding to that, it’s virtually impossible to be different for very long. Your campaigns and products only get results until there is something new nipping at your heels. If your idea is any good, it will eventually get snapped up and copied; so, if your business model relies on your being different, you will end up spending your time trying to stay one step ahead of your competition and your business is in trouble.
Alternatively, Differentiation is the result of your adding exceptional and remarkable value to the marketplace in a way that is meaningful for you, brings significance to the marketplace, and creates fantastic results for your consumers.
The challenge is that far too many business owners can't identify or don't value what makes them unique. In an effort to “build it right”, they read all the business manuals, they look over their shoulder for inspiration from their competition, they compromise on too many things to serve too many people, and eventually, they no longer know what they think and they behave accordingly … they are unfocused, inconsistent, and ineffective.
Differentiation cannot be achieved if you don’t stand for something. A strong impression is better than no impression. Don't be afraid to have an opinion. Without your vibrant and passionate personality, without taking that bold stand, your business absolutely cannot be what it needs to be in today’s marketplace. You must take a stand and you must be relentlessly motivated to create something that is passionately and intensely meaningful to you.
Without exception, your greatest potential is only fully released when your pursuit of achievement is supported by the freedom to express your unique values, strengths and style. As a business owner, you have that freedom, the freedom to create what you now only dream about.
And there’s no better time to start than now.