Thursday, January 11, 2018

"When It Comes To What We Do, There Is No One Else Like Us"

Starting, running, and growing a business - especially a small business like an aging in place services firm - means paying attention to marketing, sales, customer relations, money management, relations with strategic partners and referring professionals, and so many other concerns. Additionally, there is the competition in some form. There are going to be - if not present already - other contractors, consultants, therapists, designers, and specialists in our marketplace that seemingly do what we offer.

Maybe other companies or individuals provide very similar products or services - perhaps even exactly the same to the casual observer. They might be located in the same area or serve the same market as we do - and even have a similar price point.

Unless a business of any type 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 going to 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 near to what 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, we provide a variety of products and services to our clients and customers - presumably in ways that aren't being done exactly the same by others or nearly as well. Essentially, we provide solutions - unique to each setting and household.

When a consumer calls us for an estimate or for an assessment or evaluation, are they contacting because of a referral where they know something about us and our reputation, or are there others that are going to be competing for the assignment? We need to learn this before we agree to meet with them or during the initial interview so we can determine how we want to approach a meeting or if we are interested in considering the assignment.

As for parity, are other businesses, even aging in place services ones, exactly the same as us? Likely not. Just as no two clients or homes are exactly the same, we differ from other businesses. Even when the product or services looks similar to the consumer, the major difference is us - along with our expertise, the way we approach the engagement, and the results we achieve.

Also, we are CAPS-trained, and this can be a major selling point for us. It an important part of our story and one to be accentuated. We need to 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 that being requested, or one for which we are actively marketing ourselves, with the teamwork, level of experience, and intuitive ability to deliver what they need at the desired budget - whether a medical component or special equipment is part of it or not.

No other company - even within a franchise organization - is going to be exactly the same 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.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging In Place Specialist - Master Instructor and best-selling author of aging in place 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.