As small business owners, we need to know our value to effectively compete in a rapidly changing environment.  Do you understand what sets you apart from your competition?  Do you know who your competition really is?  What is it about you that allows you to build sticky relationships that keep your clients coming back for more and referring you to their colleagues?

This becomes even more challenging when you are working to build an organization because there is only one you, so you need to create culture based on that secret sauce.

It turns out that our secret sauce is building community and making connections for that community.  For years we have “competed” with Regus, the global leader in shared office, but I have never felt we shared the same target audience.  Yes, we both offer affordable and flexible office space, and now coworking space.  Yes, we both offer telephone answering and virtual office programs.  That said, I don’t think our facilities could feel any more different than they do and that barely needs to be articulated to a prospect during a tour.  So it turns out, Regus may not be our competition.

Our competition might be: lack of information (what does that office really cost); it may be inertia (voice mail works fine for me, a first impression isn’t that important); misconceptions (it doesn’t cost me anything to do it myself); and so on.  You don’t know who your competition truly is unless you ask a lot of “pain” questions during your prospect interview.

We often have prospects remark on the “energy” in our facilities which makes people want to be there and tell others about what we are doing.  This is our community and it is the manifestation of our culture.  I am truly grateful and blessed to have achieved that in collaboration with my team and our clients.

But we can’t stop there, we need to remain in constant dialogue about how our community see us, how we can improve, what we should do more of, less of and so on.

The week of June 17 is the SBAs Small Business Week – I encourage you to explore what your secret sauce is and how you will differentiate yourself.  Join us for one of our many educational events that week (

Stay tuned

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