Here’s What You Need to Do to Stand Out in A Saturated Industry
I am Jess! Ottawa brand strategist and website designer helping passionate service-based businesses grow with confidence through meaningful design. I'm the type of gal that use one too many exclamation mark in my emails and can only have one cup of coffee a day. Weird, I know. If you ever want to chat any thing biz, branding, or well - life, feel free to reach out!
Are you tired of hearing crickets when you put out an offer… or maybe you came to the realization one too many times that the client you just signed is actually kind of a nightmare and doesn’t really value your time, energy, or expertise? Or do you sometimes feel like you are blending into the background amongst the sea of competitors in your industry? Wondering if it’s way too saturated and that if you have even a chance of succeeding?
If you are nodding your head at all of the above, I just want to say, I see you and hang in there.
This might be an unpopular opinion but often when there are complaints about a market being too “saturated” or “crowded” … I actually think it’s because business owners are frustrated that they are not getting in front of the clients that they want to work with … and it is slightly easier to blame an industry than to do the hard work itself.
Sorry if I ruffled a few feathers there but hear me out! I think the majority of small business industries is technically overflowing with “competitors”, unless you are doing something waaaay niche and never been thought of before. From photography to calligraphy, authors to artists … creativity is a gift that just keeps on giving. And one of the main reasons we think our industry is saturated is because that’s where we spend most of our time in! With that said, we are currently at an all-time high for small businesses being created every day and truth be told – the algorithms are unfortunately never really “on our side” so it’s up to us to come out with a creative solution and stand out.
So today, I want to share my three secrets for showing up and standing out in your industry!
Shift Your Mindset
Someone once told me that “competition only exists if we are doing the same thing as everyone else”.
My jaw dropped.
How honest was that? We are all individual and unique creators bringing different gifts and skills to this world. There is no two of us that are the exact same even though we might be doing a similar role. At the end of the day, we might be given the same tools, but how we choose to use them differs from one another.
Think of it this way… when you walk down the streets of downtown, you probably see a dozen or so restaurants all on the same block, and a few dozens more surrounding them. If Romeo decided not to chase after his dreams of opening his Italian restaurant because Alberto across the street started a few years ahead of him… we wouldn’t be blessed with the local culinary scene that’s in our cities.
You are NOT competing with anyone else in your industry – in fact, they are your friends, your peers, and the only people that understand what you are going through. The only competition you have is with yourself. At the end of the day, we are all our own individuals with unique lived experiences and personalities. That’s why it’s so important to embrace every single part of who you are and define what makes you authentically stand out in your industry.
Remember… it’s never fun being a second-rate version of someone else. Be YOU and the magic will follow. Shift your mindset, step away from the comparison game, and stay true to who you are.
Invest in Branding
Once you are able to shift your mindset to realizing the endless amount of potential that you have, the next step is to invest in branding.
Branding WILL help you stand out in a so-called “saturated market” because it highlights the uniqueness that you bring to the industry and the impact that you want to make. Many business owners assume branding is just a logo, a cohesive colour palette, and some fonts paired together. But branding is so, so, so much more than that. While the visuals are important – the subconscious behind branding is absolutely significant and plays a vital role in your business.
Expanding on our example from before – while Romeo and Alberto both own and run their own Italian restaurants, what they offer is completely different from flavour to operations. Alberto’s recipes are homemade, authentic, and bring the flavours of his grandmother’s kitchen to his customers… while Romeo is actually serving a high-end fusion menu that blends in flavours from Italy, France, and Canada. They are two completely different styles, flavours, and audiences… meaning the marketing and branding for both restaurants are as different night and day!
Working with a brand strategist can help you uncover the magic behind your brand through voice, positioning, personality, value proposition, and more. A brand strategist is trained to research, problem-solve, and analyze the current market and design a brand that makes you stand out. They also have an objective view of your industry and competitors that you could have never seen before because they aren’t “in your head” every single day.
If you want to get a head start, ask yourself these questions:
What do you want to be known for?
How do you want your clients to feel when they interact with your brand?
What is the #1 thing that you do that your audience needs that your competition doesn’t provide to them?
Deliver A Memorable Client Experience
With a clear direction, a positive mindset, and a strategic brand in place – it’s time for you to bring it all to life by delivering a memorable client experience.
Remember that saying by Maya Angelou? People won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.
Having a solid client experience from beginning to end IS delivering value in itself. At the end of the day, we are all humans and at the same time. We want to feel heard, seen, and valued. Your clients are the same way! By making sure they are taken care of at each stage of the project, you are making them feel important and that every dollar spent is being valued.
Sending out a proposal, contract, with a few emails in between is NOT a client experience. Unfortunately, there are business owners who do not see the value in providing a memorable experience simply because they want to save a few bucks. But going that extra mile to send your client a welcome packet or a Starbucks gift card during a meeting can make all the difference. However, you decide to go above and beyond supporting your client’s business will speak to your character as a business owner and will allow you to stand out like the shiny gold star that you are in your industry.
To me, a saturated market is sometimes just an excuse our imposter syndrome makes for us and it’s time we squash that one down. While there might be a lot of business owners doing the same job as you are, it doesn’t mean they are performing or delivering value the way that you can. If there is “saturation” in your industry, that must mean the service (or product) that you are offering has been validated and that there is A LOT of demand for it. Use that as an advantage! The business industry will keep growing and evolving every day… and it’s up to us to show up authentically and put in the hard work. Don’t worry about what Karen or Nancy are doing next door, tend to your own garden and it will flourish like no other.
If you are interested in chatting more about developing a full branding strategy so you can stand out in your industry and position yourself differently, let’s have a chat!