Competition is part and parcel of running a company. It doesn’t have to be ferocious, elbows out stuff, though. There’s a more holistic approach that is about maximising your own offering and knowing how to look the part.
Like it or not, work, and managing your own business, is competitive. You can believe in your talent and the ethics of your company, but you have to win the clients to make these things worthwhile.
We’re not talking ruthless ambition here; it’s not The Apprentice. Rather, it’s more about focussing on your own offering. What can you do to make your company stand out and be the most appealing prospect?
Yes, it sounds a bit pedestrian, but reliability and exciting creative flare are not mutually exclusive. Being the company that delivers great work on time is going to get clients coming back for more, and repeat business is what helps many SMEs thrive.
If you are a small business competing with bigger organisations then it can feel like you’re on the back foot. Larger companies often have more resources, perhaps more structure – all the things that say ‘solid and reliable’. But as a small business this is also at your disposal. Flexspaces have all of the logistical capabilities – space (never underestimate the importance of an actual physical working space), modern tech and facilities to keep you in line with the heavyweights.
Look the part
Reliability is about more than just meeting the deadline. It is also about looking the part and instilling confidence – professionalism, if we are going to boil it down. While working from home is fully accepted and celebrated now, there is still something about an office that adds clout.
Super-entrepreneur turned American TV personality Marcus Lemonis advocates making sure your office is a “proper reflection of your leadership style and organisational values”. Flexspace or coworking offices mean that you can invite clients for meetings – you can book a conference room for large groups or take advantage of café areas for one to ones. Collaboration areas for more active meetings also not only work, but they also give the impression of working, and clients love that. It can make you feel the part too; “It’s similar to when you were a kid and you laced up a new set of sneakers. You probably felt faster and more agile – imagining yourself as a superhero”, Lemonis adds.
Be willing to learn always
Things change quickly and investing time in upskilling your business and your individual employees can help you to keep on top of the curve and retain the best staff. The shift to hybrid working has not only seen many companies move their learning online, but it’s given employees more time and flexibility to engage with training made available.
Recorded sessions and live training can work together to teach not only the essential skills, but also creative practices. If your business is too small to run your own bespoke digital training platform then you can also outsource. Marketing Week’s Mini MBA, for example, is an online course that people can complete in their own time, from wherever suits them best.
Network and join forces
As a small business, being open to collaboration could be one of the most effective tools at your disposal. Coworking spaces are, by nature, a mix of people, professions and skills, and building a broad network can really strengthen your proposition. Who knows where your next business venture might come from…
Many flexspace offices will arrange socials and events where you can get to know your neighbours, so make the most of them. Also, take advantage of any onsite cafes or break out areas. View networking as an important part of your coworking setup and enjoy the thrill of opportunity.
This, without doubt, can be one of the trickiest things to identify and communicate. It comes down to asking yourself a few questions: What do you do? Why are you good at it? What extras can you bring to the table? The trick is to not rule out anything that you might take for granted (your love of spreadsheets for example, or your encyclopedic knowledge of dinosaurs, you never know).
When you have an idea of who you are, establishing a web presence and a social media strategy is key to communicating your USP. Use your network, shout about your successes, and show people the work that you are really proud of. Not necessarily the stuff that made you the most money, but the projects that made you feel really, really good.
Some people thrive off competition, while others may panic at the thought of it. The crux of it though is that it’s about you and making your offering as good as it can be. That goes from winning the best clients to retaining the best staff, and it’s all a bit more holistic when you think of it like that.
Read more to find out how Spaces can help you and your business become the best it can be.