In order to succeed in business you need to be better than your competitors. This is an ongoing process and you must constantly respond to changes in the market to maintain a competitive advantage. Fortunately, as a small business you are able to change and adapt more quickly than your larger competitors. To help you get an edge, here are six ways to stay ahead of your competition:
1- Take risks
Taking risks is hard because of the general uncertainty and potential for things to go wrong. Taking risks is especially difficult for those of us who are naturally risk-averse. But don’t let the fear of making bold moves leave you one step behind your competitors; instead, let it be the driving force of your success. Be innovative, creative, and strategic in your risk-taking to keep your business ahead of competitors.
For example, if there’s a gap in the market for a service you deliver, don’t hesitate to promote your business. Take the risk and get there before anyone else. The good thing about taking risks is that they can really pay off — the biggest risks reap the biggest rewards.
2- Market your brand differently
Taking a different approach to marketing or creating a unique advertising campaign is the key to securing new customers. For marketing to truly be effective it has to be memorable, and the best way to be memorable is to create unique campaigns that stand out from all the other advertisements consumers are exposed to every day. This is one of the many areas in business where taking risks pays off!
3- Offer a better deal
In order to win customers over, offer them something which is better than what competitors can offer them. This can take many different shapes: nicer products, great service package, more convenient service offering, better quality product/service – whatever it is, make sure it’s great and that people know about it.
Don’t worry if what you’re currently offering isn’t great, you can always change. In fact, changing something for the better shows your customers that you care and are willing to keep improving to secure their business. To beat competitors, always be ready to change and improve.
4- Don’t compete on price
This point goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. Competing on price is very tempting as a small business, especially if you are entering a saturated market. However, this can be difficult to sustain and more often than not, businesses just end up undercutting their own profit margin. Provide something high-quality and great instead that people will be willing to pay more for.
Not only will this increase your profit, but it’s harder to imitate or compete with because it requires more than just lowering prices to match or beat your price offering.
5- Communication is key
Many small businesses pour all their efforts into marketing to broadcast a message about the value of the brand to their customers. While this is important, communication should be a two-way process. The surest way to know how to beat your competitors is to ask your customers. The fancy term for this is market research, although it can take many forms such as conversations or paper/online surveys. Communicating with your customers can make a lot of the risks your taking less uncertain because your target audience has told you exactly what they want.
It is important to remember that both marketing promotions and market research should be done continuously. Just because you did it once, doesn’t mean you’re set for life. The key to staying ahead of your competition is to constantly be aware of the market and its changes and then follow that up with the willingness to act on these changes.
6- Focus on yourself
Whilst being aware of the competition and market are very important, it is also crucial to be aware of yourself and your business as a standalone unit. Don’t let competitors dictate your vision or your relationship with your customers. These things should only come from within your own business. So spend a lot of time perfecting and cementing your vision before you let competitors’ actions impact your business.
A lot of the decisions that will keep your business on top should come from you, your business, and your customers, and not your competitors!