Saturday, July 22, 2017

"Presenting Our Case To The Marketplace"

Starting a business, being in business, and staying in business relies on two essential ingredients - a product or service that people are will to have and pay for and being able to get the word spread about the fact that we offer that product or service.

In addition to these challenges, most businesses also have some type of competition. Maybe someone else offers a very similar product or service. They might be located in the same area or serve the same market. There could be a similar price point.

Unless a business is quite new to the marketplace or offers a product or service that hasn't been around long enough for others to copy it, there is competition. It's what we do with that competition that makes the difference. It's how we neutralize it or actually capitalize on it that matters for us. Of course, with the internet and social media, it's easier for the consumer to be aware of other companies that they might not have been aware of in earlier times.

With the internet, it's not even vital that the competing company is located in the same area or even that close to the company a consumer is considering. This is especially true for retail products where delivery time, price, and other factors determine who gets the order more than where the store is located.

As for our aging in place services, consider how competition affects us. We include contractors, handymen, occupational therapists, physical therapists, designers, durable medical equipment specialists, and so many others. We provide a variety of products, services, and solutions to our clients and customers with a team of specialists - presumably in ways that aren't being done exactly by others or nearly as well as what we do.

So, when we get a call from someone desiring to use our services, are they contacting just us and only us - because of a referral or because they have heard good things about us - or are there others that are going to be competing for the assignment? That's something we need to determine early on - before we agree to meet with them or during the initial interview.

Many other companies - sole practitioners up to larger firms - can claim to do what we do, but is this really the case? Are we exactly the same? Likely not.

First, are the other companies trained as CAPS? Many probably are not. Make that work for us. It an important part of our story and one to be accentuated. Let the consumer know what this means to them and why we already have an edge on anyone else they are talking with who does not have this designation.

How about our strategic network - also of CAPS-trained individuals and firms? Few people in our immediate marketplace can approach an assignment such as what we are being requested to do with the teamwork, level of experience, and intuitive ability to deliver what they need - whether a medical component or special equipment is part of it or not - in precisely the same way as us.

No one - no other company or individual contractor or consultant - even within a franchise organization - is going to approach an assignment the exact same way as another. The products may be similar or even in some cases the same, the approach to doing the work may be similar just because of what is required to complete the job, and the final price may be comparable. However, no one else is us. We have our own values, thought processes, personality, and history that we bring to each job.

We know what we can do. We just need to make sure that the marketplace is aware of it. We can't be the only ones who know this.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Master Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.