Failing to look at what your competitors are up to can trigger the ‘looky-likey’ trap. Signs that you are hurting your business by resorting to stereotypes include:
- If you are a hairdresser or beauty salon you will ‘listen to what our customers want’, always offer an ‘indulgent pamper package’ in a ‘calm and relaxing salon’. Just like the one round the corner.
- Restaurants, pubs and cafes only ever use ‘locally sourced produce and the finest seasonal ingredients’ with ‘a diverse menu to satisfy a broad range of appetites’. Whilst Indian, Thai and Chinese are a ‘hidden gem offering high quality customer service renown for authentic dishes’.
- Hotels are only ever conveniently located – but not for those pesky guests who insist on living more than 40 miles away. And communities are never ‘remote’ to the residents, only to London-centric media.
- Jewellery makers and crafty folk start out pursuing a hobby until friends and family persuade them to turn it into a business making ‘handmade, individual and wearable pieces’.
- If you’re offering zumba classes you’ll have been issued standard wording to ‘ditch the workout, join the party’. So has every other person in this overcrowded market including the woman a couple of doors down who’s just finished a stint as a dancer on a cruise ship.
- And finally, if you want to ‘curl up on the sofa with a bottle of wine’ either your business is not going as well as you had hoped or you’ve mistaken your website for an online dating site.
How to avoid all of the above? You know your business inside out but a freelance writer works across sectors. We offer a fresh pair of eyes. We can often use our experience to propose a solution or warn against a path of action. Even if it’s a small thing like changing the name of your newsletter because it’s the same as your rivals (you’d be surprised).