It doesn’t matter if you’re a start-up or an established brand, competition is part of business, and it can get quite fierce, particularly in strong industry contenders. Everyone is looking to stay ahead of the other, and surviving amid the competition can be challenging. Fortunately, you can stand the competition and even stay ahead with these six ways:
- Create Smart Marketing Strategies
You need to have smart marketing strategies if you’re to stay ahead of your competition. This means moving with the shifting marketing trends. The current trend is investing in digital marketing, and your business should too. You can use the likes of search engine optimization (SEO), social media, content marketing and others.
However, this doesn’t mean you disregard other working traditional marketing methods. Your sales and marketing team also matter and should be part of the smart strategy. Consider taking them through sales coaching to help them refine their marketing skills. When you have smart marketing strategies and a capable team to deliver, you can beat your competition to stay ahead of the pack.
- Know Your Competition
It’s challenging to stay ahead if you don’t know what you’re competing against. It helps to learn what your competitors are doing that can hurt your business and push you behind. Research and study your competitors and the big brands in your industry. Find out what they’re doing to attract, retain and increase their market share. (1)
With this knowledge, try and figure out what you can use within your reach, resources and environment to grow and retain your customers in a crowded space. Analyse their websites, social media pages and other channels and gather enough information on why customers pick them over you. Focus your strength against their weaknesses.
Importantly, don’t copy your competitors; instead, learn. Your effort should be to discover any opportunity that they haven’t tapped and capitalise on it. This will keep you a few steps ahead at all times.
- Know Your Customer
The fact is that the customer is your employer, and they can fire you anytime by taking their business to another business. Without the customers, your business can’t exist, and that’s as simple as it is. Because customers are your business’s lifeline, you need to pay close attention to their habits, needs and wants.
Notably, customer expectations are constantly evolving. They can change suddenly due to change in their economic circumstances, age, profession and other life issues. You should strive to know and understand your customer well enough at any time, such that your product or service fits their current need and sells itself.
However, sometimes your customers don’t know what they want until you show it to them. Your job is to understand them adequately to enable you to provide the right products. As you seek new customers, don’t neglect your existing ones. Show appreciation to the current customers through personalised discounts and offers to keep them from going to your competitors.
Work to deliver excellent customer service. If you meet their expectations, they’ll keep coming back. Always give them what they want, and a little extra.
- Mind Your Employees
One of your greatest assets is your employees. A business with a skilled and motivated team signals a robust and growing business. Your competitors can study your ways, copy your tactics and strategies, but they can never duplicate your employees. Motivating your team is not just about a competitive pay slip. It’s making them feel secure in their jobs and ability to deliver.
Things such as a good working environment, flexibility, work-life balance and structured career development often keep employees motivated and impressed. When you have a team that’s happy to serve, customers respond with loyalty to your business. As the people who deal with your customers directly, it pays to go the extra mile and treat them well. (2)
- Dare To Be Different
Let your offering be unique, clear and unmistakable. You shouldn’t wait for a customer to ask you what makes you different. You must give your customers a reason to come to your business and not your competitor. Create a unique selling point (USP) that draws into what customers are looking for. (3)
When you stand out, it’s easier to promote your offering. You’re able to win customers because you have something special other than just a competitive price.
- Plan for the future
Staying ahead of your competition is not seasonal; it’s an everyday job. Your business should plan for the future if you want to keep up with the competition and run a successful business. Keep developing your business, invest in technology and follow marketing trends. Whatever you do, keep moving.
You need to have an idea of where you want your business to be in years to come. As your competitors will still be improving their offerings, you need to keep up. This will help you remain competitive and even stay steps ahead.
Staying ahead of your competitors isn’t easy, but it’s possible. However, it requires being strategic and smart. By keeping the steps mentioned here in mind, you can stay one step ahead of your competition, whether you’re a start-up or an established brand.
- “Understand your competitors”, Source: https://www.infoentrepreneurs.org/en/guides/understand-your-competitors/
- “How HR Can Contribute to Creating Competitiveness”. Source: https://smallbusiness.chron.com/hr-can-contribute-creating-competitiveness-38754.html
- “Marketing your business’ unique selling proposition”, Source: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/marketing-your-business-unique-selling-proposition