Top 10 Ways to Stay Ahead of Your Competition
Working hard to get your business ahead of your rivals is only the half the battle – once you’re on top, you’ve got to stay there too! Here are the top 10 ways to keep your business as competitive as possible.
1/ Understand your customers. Is your target audience seeking a better service, a lower price or just something new? Unless you know what makes your customers tick, you can’t target them effectively.
2/ Study your business rivals. Just as important as knowing the needs and requirements of your customers is knowing exactly what your competitors are offering. You may not be able to beat them on every differential but the knowledge will help your business calculate how to compete most effectively.
3/ Differentiate your product. Distinguishing yourself from your competitors is vital for retaining existing customers and attracting new ones. If people have to ask what makes your business different, you’re not marketing yourself effectively enough. Tweak what you’re offering so you have a clearly identifiable USP – a Unique Selling Point!
4/ Use smart marketing. You can keep marketing costs down by conducting proper market research and targeting potential leads more effectively. While you shouldn’t ignore traditional print media, skilful marketing through social networks, blogs and other online platforms can provide high returns for low costs.
5/ Revamp your business image. Is your company image a bit tired and in need of a refresh? A well-designed and well-written website is a must for showing the world what your business is all about, as is professional-looking business cards and stationery.
6/ Value your customers. Keep your existing customers happy and they’ll do half your marketing for you by sharing your business with their friends and family. That’s why it’s always more cost-effective to build on an existing customer base than to keep finding new customers. Discounts, loyalty schemes and in-store credit cards can all help – as can surveying customers and responding to requests.
7/ Value your employees. Research shows that a well treated, highly motivated workforce will yield better results for your business. Proper compensation doesn’t necessarily mean higher salaries – providing employees with the chance to work flexibly, develop new skills and take initiative can be equally motivating factors.
8/ Diversify. Along with differentiating your product, you should be seeking to grow your business by carrying your brand into new markets. What related products or services would complement your core service and appeal to your target audience?
9/ Spread your risk. Targeting new markets – such as overseas or online – can protect your business should the bottom fall out of any one market.
10/ Invest in the future. Think ahead – and think big. New technology and bold ideas will help keep your business on top in five years’ time.