ASCP Skin Deep

NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2019

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ascp now offers advanced modality insurance! ascpskincare.com/ami 43 expertadvice MIND YOUR BUSINESS "Come visit our spa! We have massage, facials, and waxing all under one roof." Does this advertisement sound familiar to you? Unfortunately, we see ads like this all too often because the business owner does not understand what their competitive advantages are or, more importantly, how to communicate them. A competitive advantage is simply something your business does that makes you better than the spa down the road. Some call it an "edge," others call it a "brag list." Call it what you want, but if you don't understand what your business's competitive advantages are, then you are already losing business to those who do. START WITH GUIDELINES How do you discover your business's competitive advantages? We begin with setting a few guidelines. 1. It must be objective, not subjective. For example, "You should do business with me because my clients love me" is subjective. "You should do business with me because my clients love the client appreciation nights I host once a month" is objective. 2. It must be quantifiable, not ambiguous. For example, "Our clients have been coming to us for years" is not quantified. "Ninety-five percent of our clients have been coming to us for five years" is specific and quantified. 3. Your competition cannot make the same claim. For example, "We offer massage, facials, and waxing all under one roof " is a common claim. "We offer award- winning and life-changing professional skin revision treatments" is a claim very few, if any, competitors can make. DO AN ACTIVITY Now that we have the guidelines, here is an activity on how to identify your business's competitive advantages. Follow steps 1–3 to discover your competitive advantages. Step 1: Create a brag list. Follow the guidelines (above) to make a list of all the things you do well—from communication, marketing, and operations to treatments and services. What's something your business has been acclaimed or recognized for? What's something unique about your business or something you can be best at? Try to avoid things that can be copied relatively easily. You literally cannot have too many items listed—brag away! Competitive Advantage Answering the question, "Why should I do business with you?" by Drew Coleman Here are some examples: • Last year we completed 1,000 professional skin revision treatments. • We only offer professionally prescribed skin revision products that are not available online. • We were recently voted "Best Day Spa" in our city. • We are open 7 days a week. • You can book treatments online 24-7. • We are conveniently located next to Highway 123. Step 2: Make a list of all the things your competitors do well. In order to understand what your advantages are, you need to understand what your competition does well. For example, your competition may also have won awards or offer similar treatments and services, or they may also be located near Highway 123. Once you identify what your competition does well, cross out the items that you and your competition share. Just because you share something similar with your competition doesn't mean you stop offering that service or claim. It means that because someone else can make the same claim, it is not a competitive advantage. Step 3: Make a fresh list of the items. Take a look at the remaining items on your list, and take some time to come up with other items your competition does not claim. This list of claims is now your competitive advantages. Try to do this activity once or twice a year; better yet, always be thinking about what makes your services and business unique and jot down those thoughts to keep a running list. By keeping your competitive advantages in the forefront of your mind, you'll always be able to answer the question, "Why should I do business with you?"

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