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Who Are the Contenders for Your Target Market?

You may choose to define a very narrow niche, using your personal brand, so that you don’t have any competitors, or you may find that you want to band together with your competitors, creating a strong alliance providing more business for all of you.

When you know your contenders (worthy competitors), you have options of what to do with that information.

In your workplace, your contenders are the people doing well inside your company and those from the outside who may be hired to do work that you’re not demonstrating that you can do. Continue to observe and gather information so that you can direct your brand.

Compare yourself to the competition

How do you compare to the competition? Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are your competitors missing? Is there a gap in the services they provide that could be an opportunity for you?

  • Are you targeting the same market? What tactics do they use, and do the tactics seem to be effective?

  • If you were that company’s customer, what would the experience of doing business with them be like?

  • How do they find their opportunities?

  • What can you learn from them that would help you develop your business or move into a position you would like to have in your company?

  • Are you trying to occupy the same space as someone else who has done it longer and better? (If so, you will need to think of a new angle.)

  • How will you price what you do?

  • Does the market dictate what you can charge for the work you do? (If yes, you will need to price yourself in relationship to others doing similar work and focus on other aspects of your business to stand out.)

  • Is there room for the price to go up or down depending on what you offer? (You may be able to answer this question after you’ve been doing business a little longer and can find added value in your service before raising your prices.)

  • How did you arrive at what you are going to charge? Did you do a comparison of the competition? Was your value determined geographically? (What you could charge in New York may be very different than what you could charge in Tampa, for example.)

  • Does what you charge support your personal brand? (If you’re branding yourself as a luxury person but are undercharging, you’re not being true to your brand.)

Don't be afraid of competition

Personal branding involves taking your authentic self out into the world. It is easy at this point to be overcome with the fear of what if no one wants this brand? What if I can’t compete?

It’s a very real fear, although you won’t often hear people say it out loud. Putting yourself out there is scary, and if you don’t have the self-esteem to back up your brand, you won’t get very far.

The best way to overcome your fear of competing is to stay true to your personal brand with strategies that spell success:

  • Stay authentic. You know who you are. Don’t be afraid to be that.

  • Play fairly. Don’t fling mud because it will take you down and dirty your reputation.

  • Have a good attitude. Be known for your good nature and for being pleasant to work with. People like doing business with nice people.

  • Don’t say yes just to agree. Great brands stand for something, and when you are called to do that, stand up for what you believe in.

  • Start early and overdeliver. People like to know that they can count on you to be there and that you will do what you say you'll do.

  • Communicate better than anyone else. Build your brand loyalty by being a great communicator.

  • Find support from people who believe in you. Nothing helps overcome your fears like having a fan club.

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