Barriers to Entry

small business Jul 15, 2019

If you're like me, you are a busy person and are probably scarfing down a burrito on your meager lunch break while reading this article. 

You don’t have any time to waste so as Jerry MacGuire yelled on the telephone to Rod Tidwell- “SHOW ME THE MONEY!’ 

Here’s the money...this month's topic (and something I go into extensive detail in my course) is how to find what makes you unique and sets you apart from your competition.

This exercise is critical if you want to stand out from your competition and provide a service that's unique to you. To do this, you first need to understand what a barrier to entry is.

Barriers to entry is a business term that pertains to the level of difficulty required to enter a given industry or market.

A high barrier means that it is difficult. A low barrier means that it is easy. Pretty easy to understand right

Why is understanding your industry’s barrier to entry important?

Well as Landscape Architects and Designers, we know this term very well as it's partly due to the common misunderstanding of our trade. Barriers to the landscape industry can be fairly low. Anyone with a pickup truck, trailer, and mower can enter the maintenance side of what we do and make a great living doing it (speaking from personal experience here, see the gator image below of a business I once owned while in college).

And while the barrier to entry is low, we all know that maintenance is an extremely difficult industry that requires precision and skill. We discover this is not the typical understanding though as most just think of it as “mow, blow and go.” 

We spend a significant portion of time explaining our industry, in all its vastness and diversity, and while the maintenance side of the landscape industry can have a low barrier of entry, further down the spectrum for a design/build or becoming a licensed landscape architect, the barriers to entry are quite different.

Now, what does all this mean?

Yes, our industry is accessible, but as I stated before- largely misunderstood by the general public and homeowners.

This means we have an opportunity to create something unique!

You can take advantage of our industry’s popularity and raise your own barrier to entry to set you apart from your competitors. Use what is already known about our industry: everyone loves beautiful landscapes *thanks HGTV! 

Use what you know, use what is unique to you, your special sauce! Maybe that's paver expertise, horticulture experience, pool design, etc.

Ask yourself, what sets me apart from my competitors? What's my special sauce? 

We can all slap the same cheesy catchphrases or an oak tree on our logos and websites: "Professional! Our customers are #1! Dependable! Creative! Attention to detail!..."

As one of my favorite quotes from the movie Tommy Boy goes: “If you want me to take a dump in a box, and mark it guaranteed for you I will... I've got spare time.”

No one notices the generic guarantees on the box. No one cares about the same hollow descriptions. 

You already have an advantage- you serve a highly competitive market. Spend time understanding your company’s uniqueness- which naturally breaks down barriers to entry because no one else has what YOU have.

Do the real work of digging deep, doing some soul searching, holding up that mirror, taking a good look, and saying “what makes my company unique”?

Start by sharing what makes your company unique in our private Facebook group in the link below and lets all figure out what makes us all unique together.


Learn in community with other like-minded entrepreneurs about how to craft the right message and create polarizing content that establishes a deep connection with your audience. 


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