How to Learn & Grow by Researching Your Competition

How to Learn & Grow by Researching Your Competition - Zest e-Biz Get to Know Your Competition


   So, you think I should just call my competitors and say ‘Hi, I’m in competition with you, I’d love to know more about the services you offer’?

Recently a small business centre facilitator advised me to do some research on my competition. Unsure about how to do this, I was shocked at the suggestion that I should, “Just pick up the phone and be honest”.

Hmm… be honest. I wonder if they’ll hang up on me?

Research your competition : don’t ask, don’t know.

So I picked up the phone and dialled the number on the least threatening looking business card.

We got chatting. The longer we talked, the more I thought it was not just me who found the conversation valuable. I believe the specific targeted questions I asked below, helped build the confidence of my competitors as well as myself.

  1. What specific products or services do you offer?
  2. In addition to these tangible deliverables, what else do you believe your clients get from working with you?
  3. How would you describe your target market?
  4. Have you done a SWOT analysis lately?

Obviously my main goal was not to make my competitor feel better! So what did I gain from the exercise?

Each conversation I had helped me refine my own individual selling position and realise that my main product, the Soul Biz Plan Workbook is actually very unique.

Even more importantly one of those conversations has potentially resulted in an affiliate who agreed to send business my way! Who would have thought.

Everyone has a unique selling position.

This is especially true if you deal with your customer directly.

I am fast learning that more often than not,

  People want to do business with you is because YOU are YOU.

Your personality, your strengths and your beliefs are what attracts customers and ultimately builds a loyal following.

That being the case, it is very rare that someone will be offering the exact same service, or product, as you.

When I realised that the business coaching services I offer are in fact slightly different to my competitors, I noticed that we could actually work together. When clients do not fit our own target market, we can refer them on, and vice versa.

Don’t compare.

Very often we are quick to compare ourselves to others. Usually to people who have achieved great success already. And then we wonder why we are not like them!? I’m certainly guilty of doing it. 

How to Learn & Grow by Researching Your Competition - Don't Compare - Zest e-BizSource: Tsh Oxenreider via Pinterest

So often, the reality is that those people are further along their business journey. I bet if you looked at some of their original work or website copy (if you can find it), you’d see that like you, everyone starts somewhere.

Sarah Prout recently wrote a blog post that said:

   When you compare yourself to others you start to second guess yourself and lose sight of your own uniqueness.

How to Learn & Grow by Researching Your Competition - Zest-eBiz-Get-to-know-your-competition-today

So what did I learn from researching my competition?

   Ask the questions, get to know your competitors better. But don’t compare, simply be inquisitive. Then celebrate your own unique selling position!

Not only would I have never discovered what I wanted to know, but I would have never found out what I didn’t realise I wanted to know. Like hanging up the phone and knowing that a competitor might actually send business my way!

I hope this has inspired you to do some research about your competition. Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear how you go!

Top Tips for Business & Blogging – Recap of Problogger Day 1

As Day 2 of Problogger commences, I thought I’d write down all the great tips & tricks I picked up yesterday before I forget them!

From Little Things Big Things Grow

“Build a workflow around small tasks and make them a habit.”
“Have goals to filter opportunities”
“Look for sparks! What gives YOU energy? What are your readers responding to? Where is momentum gathering? Then act quickly before the spark goes cold.” – Darren Rowse @Problogger

Finding Your Voice: Building Your Brand

“Use what you’ve already got when building your brand.”
“What you tell people your brand is will be different to what each individual thinks of your brand.”
“We are whatever people tell us we are – we can’t tell people our brand.”
“A brand is a gut feeling you get when you think of something/someone.”
“Determine what you stand for : what is your unique voice? Be consistent.”
“Don’t be something you’re not.” – Stan Johnson @BrandDNA

How to get brands knocking on your door:

– Brands want stats –> Google Analytics
– Look out for Pinterest!
– $ don’t come from PR agencies, but they can be the conduit for $ from brands marketing departments
– Seek out brands who are already active in social media, don’t waste time educating other brands about blogging
– Use twitter to build relationships and “flirt” with brands
(Thanks to the amazing panel: Lorraine Murphy, Nikki Parkinson, Eden Riley and Mrs Woog)

Marketing Your Products

10. Practice makes perfect – practice on other products
9. Set a date
8. Lock up your product – even if it feels unfinished
7. Know your angle
6. Make a plan – split it into pre-launch, launch month & post-launch
5. Ready your audience – share the prep experience
4. Make it sellable
3. Active tracking – be ready beforehand
2. put the writing on the wall
1. Get the green light from someone else before launch – soft launch first
– Shayne Tilley @ShayneT

Making Money & Changing the World

“Find role models – like minded individuals, but in different areas”
“pay attention to the questions Pete are asking”
“Emotional connections/needs stronger than educational connections/needs”
“Share a genuine agenda”
“Treat work as important part of life & make time for it”
– Chris Guillebeau @chrisguillebeau


Great day, fantastic material presented and amazing people to connect with.


For anyone keen to get in on the action, get your virtual ticket now and join in on twitter:


p.s. Thanks to the Problogger team for organizing an event with such a great atmosphere for meeting and connecting with people & still being able to feed my 4 month old boy – who is loving exploring Melbourne with Mr Mum 🙂

Six Reasons Why I’m Looking Forward to Attending ProBlogger!

Note: this post contains affiliate links.

Six Reasons Why I’m Looking Forward to Attending ProBlogger! - Zest e-biz


Only three days until I fly to Melbourne to attend the ProBlogger Training Event! Getting very excited now. Not looking forward to the long day traveling via Perth with our 4 month old bub, but what is waiting in Melbourne will be worth it.

In the last couple of posts I’ve done some thinking about my Zest e-Biz blog developing a mission statement and goals. The other area I’ve been thinking about in preparation for ProBlogger is what I want to get out of the event.

Six Reasons for Attending ProBlogger:

1. To meet other bloggers who are at various levels of experience with their blogs so I can learn what worked and what didn’t for them. Already I’ve joined a facebook group called Aussie Bloggers that one of the ProBlogger attendees set-up which has been great to get to know people prior to the event, as well as being an excellent knowledge sharing space. For anyone interested in blogging, or planning to purchase a virtual ticket to ProBlogger, I’m sure you would be able to request to join the group.

2. Tips and ideas of how to build my blog so that I can work towards the goals I developed in my last post, including:

  • Building my blog’s brand
  • How to monetize my blog
  • How to market my products
  • How to make the most from visitors to my site, i.e. “turn them into raving fans”
  • How to get paid to write, and
  • Media and blogging

3. Validation that my blog is worth pursuing as more than just a hobby, building my confidence to stick at it and promote it accordingly.

4. To meet Darren Rowse in person who has an amazing work ethic and is so passionate about delivering value to his readers via blogging.

5. To listen to Chris Guillebeau’s story about how he blogged his way around 150+ countries, and how he monetized that blog to support his travel.

6. To go to Melbourne and indulge in great food and great culture!

ProBlogger Virtual Ticket

If you are unable to attend the ProBlogger Training Event in Melbourne, but you are interested in getting all the material from the event – good news…

They’re just released virtual tickets!

You can hear from speakers like Darren Rowse, Chris Guillebeau, Shayne Tilley (the web marketing ninja) and some of Australia’s top bloggers and learn how to build a profitable blog.

Best of all – you can do it all from the comfort of your own home – with full access to over 21 hours of teaching for you to listen to again and again wherever and whenever it suits you.

If you’d like to purchase a virtual ticket I’d love you to use my affiliate link below, however you are more than welcome to purchase one directly via the ProBlogger website.

Register for a Virtual Pass to PROBLOGGER’S TRAINING EVENT

Look out for future posts about my experiences at ProBlogger.

5 Free Photo Sites to Attract & Retain Your Readers

Guest post written by Kate Croston.

Do you want people to leave your website quickly? Do you want them to ignore all the hard work that you have put into creating it? Of course not! However, when most people see a site filled with lines and lines of text, they move on. To keep them reading and browsing your site longer, you need to add visual appeal. You can do that with photos.

Adding photos to your website is a great way to keep people reading. It gives them a reference point and helps to anchor the text.

But… you don’t have the money to pay for a bunch of professional photos, right? Well, have no fear.

If you need photos for your site but do not want to pay for them, then you have come to the right place. You may think there is no place to find good quality free images for commercial use, but you are wrong. Here are five great free photo sites with images that you can use anywhere you need:

5 Free Photo Sites to Attract & Retain Your Readers - Zest e-Biz



1. MorgueFile – This site is full of great pictures and you will not have any trouble downloading them. The only downside to this site is that many of the photos are taken by amateur photographers, and some are not very well focused or framed. However, they do have a title page where they feature the best photos of the day, so you should definitely check that out.


5 Free Photo Sites to Attract & Retain Your Readers - Zest e-Biz


2. FreeDigitalPhotos – If you are looking for stock photos that are free, then this is the site to visit. The photos are easy to download and only require the proper attribution. You can find great stock photos and images on a variety of topics on this site.


5 Free Photo Sites to Attract & Retain Your Readers - Zest e-Biz



3. Woophy – Do not let the odd name throw you. It stands for World of Photography and that is exactly what this site is. Featuring a world map with locations of photos take, this site is particularly great if you need a photo on a specific place or culture. Very interesting.



5 Free Photo Sites to Attract & Retain Your Readers - Zest e-Biz



4. Stock.xchng – This free photo site is particularly interesting to camera buffs. They offer information with each photo such as what camera it was taken with and what exposure. The pictures are many and varied and off good quality.

5 Free Photo Sites to Attract & Retain Your Readers - Zest e-Biz





5. StockVaultIf you are looking for large, high quality free photos then look no further. This site offers photos by professionals that can be downloaded in very large sizes. The images are crisp and clean and everything you need when creating a large image. Browse the favorites to see particularly great images.



No matter what type of photo you need, one of these five sites ought to fit the bill. You can find great photos for your site without having to pay anything. Now, what could be better than that?


Author Bio:

Kate Croston is a freelance writer, holds a bachelors degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. She writes guest posts for different sites and loves contributing business internet service related topics. Questions or comments can be sent to:

How to Get Your Customers to Market Your Biz for FREE

How to Get Your Customers to Market Your Biz for FREE - Zest e-Biz

This week I received an email from Mighty Ape titled “Where are you, Kylah?” saying they haven’t heard from me in a while…

“Do we smell bad? Did we slip up? Whatever the reason, we miss you and we’re not above a bribe to get you back… get $10 off your next order!

Yes, this is a marketing strategy to get you to buy more of their products on a regular basis, but the personalised email that Mighty Ape carefully draft brightens up your day and makes you feel appreciated and valued.

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