Sunday, January 24, 2016

"What Makes Us So Special Or Separates Us From Our Competition?"

One of the things about being in business, regardless of the nature of that business, is that sooner or later we will have competition. We might have created or discovered a rather unique way of addressing what people want by offering a product or service that is largely unknown in the marketplace.

Occasionally, no one else offers it at the moment, but that typically is a short term proposition. Good ideas have a way of being copied or replicated - especially after we do all of the hard work of determining what it is that people might want that they don't already have (or have as well as we design it) and then by creating some initial interest in what we offer.

For aging-in-place providers, there are various types of solutions that can be offered to the marketplace - depending on the basic nature of our business. Some of these services or products may be similar to what others are providing (with our own value added enhancements making it something we can label as special). Some are going to be new or unusual for the market - at least at first.

Remodelers and contractors are going to be offering aging-in-place solutions to provide their clients safe living space, more convenient access and use of that living area, more enjoyment of it, and an overall feeling of well-being.

In a general sense, that type of description could apply to a lot of remodeling or home renovation projects. To make it special has to do with why the project is being undertaken by the client and what the desired outcome is, how it's approached, the knowledge base that is used to design and create a solution, and the professional network of health care professionals (such as physical or occupational therapists), designers, and architects - among others - that are being used.

For occupational therapists, physical therapists, and other health care professionals, their special training and years of experience give them the ability to consult directly with the client and help assess and interpret a good course of action for renovation or to work alongside a knowledgeable contractor who complete the work they deem necessary for the client.

We could go on looking at several other professions and how they might approach an aging-in-place remodeling challenge, but the point is that many of us have a valuable contribution to make in helping people create a solution that allows them to remain living in their homes. This may not be the final solution because needs change over time, but this will definitely help them get enjoyment out of their homes and remain generally safer in their homes as a result.

All that said about the way we can assist people - owners and renters - remain living more comfortably in their homes as the next few years go by, what then makes us different from others who might offer a similar product or service? What separates or distinguishes from the pack - our competition? What makes us so special that people should choose us?

We'd like to think that no one else can approach a remodeling challenge that falls within what we consider our business model with the experience (actual work experience, product knowledge, problem-solving ability, and professional training), approach, outlook, and perspective as we possess and we offer. So how do we convey this confidence to prospective clients?

This is where we need to spend some time and focus our energies. We know we can do the work. We think we can do it better than anyone else. This is to be expected. How then do we - without bragging or sounding the same as others in our field - let the public and potential strategic partners know that we have a real ability and passion for approaching solutions and creating them to the satisfaction of all involved?

We need to answer the very simple question of what makes so special - so special that the potential client almost needs to do business with us?


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Steve Hoffacker, CAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit my website at stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.