Staying ahead, or in some cases keeping up with the competition should be a priority for all business owners. They should spend time each month reviewing performance and analysing their competition to gain a competitive advantage.
Despite its importance, it is surprising how few start-ups and small businesses know who their competition is, let alone try to gain a competitive advantage.
“Innovate, improve and empathize to stay ahead”
To stay ahead business owners need to focus on improving their products, finding new ways to reach and engage with their target market.
There are several ways that a business can position themselves to beat their competition, below is a list of the most popular tactics that do not involve reducing prices (the most commonly used tactic)
1. Be More Efficient/Faster
Does your product or service get more done than your rivals? Is it quicker? Easier to set up and disassemble? Speed is an incredibly powerful sales tool.
If you have to deliver your products you, your customers try to reduce the time it takes for them to get their products. Customers will appreciate this, even if they have to pay an additional cost.
2. Be Responsible
Try to run your business in an ethical and environmentally friendly manner. Have this as one of your core values and ensure all of your employees and customers are aware of this.
It really pays to care and respect for the community, given a choice most customers would choose an ethical product over an unethical one.
3. Provide better Customer Service
This is such an easy one, be polite, build relationships with your customers and respond to complaints quickly and calmly. It’s that simple. However, it’s something some companies find impossible to do well.
The fact that you pay attention to your customers will increase the chance they stay loyal, even in bad times.
4. Give away something for Free.
The “Power” of free is dominating the digital economy. It has revolutionised the music and literacy industries. You must be prepared to give something away for free to gain new customers.
This is applicable with any industry, there is too much choice for consumers, you have to draw people to your business.
Giving something valuable away for free is the most powerful way of doing this.
5. Build a better quality product.
This is also an easy one, although it can take some time to improve your product or service. Become the market leader in terms of quality, even if this means increasing the price.
There is always demand for premium products.
6. Better payment options
This is a difficult one if you’re an early-stage business because cash flow is so the key to your survival, but if you’re established and have enough money in the bank to allow a 90-day payment period, you have a big edge over companies who cannot afford to do this.
7. Give Them A Guarantee
This is especially important for start-ups and service companies.
To reduce the risk for the buyer offer them an industry-leading guarantee for satisfaction. A time-limited money-back guarantee is always a good option.
For your business to thrive you cannot ignore your competition. If you are not analysing what they are doing you can be certain they are analysing what you are doing and adapting their products, services and processes to beat you.
Take at least one day per month to look at your competition and analyse what they do better than you and try and close the gap. Also, look at what you do better than them and try and find ways improve upon this.