Should you run your own business, you don’t need us to tell you about the aggressive nature of the business world. Competition is fierce, as not only do you have the larger companies to deal with, be they high-profile supermarkets or online retailers such as Amazon, but you have to manage your business while trying to stay afloat alongside those smaller businesses trying to get a piece of the proverbial customer pie themselves.
As a business owner, you need to both defend your position and find ways to gain an advantage over any other business threatening your stake in the marketplace.
It’s not easy, and many businesses do fail as a consequence. However, to succeed where others have failed, you need to be proactive. Consider the following strategies for staying ahead of your business rivals.
#1: Get to know the competition
Who are your competitors? What are they offering? What do they do better than you? As a business owner, you need to find out, as by learning more about them, you will then be able to find ways to market and change your business. You can glean a lot of information through market research, so use these ideas to form your competitor analysis. After compiling the data you then receive, you can move forward, showcasing your differences to your potential customers, and working to improve in any areas where you fall down in comparison to your rivals.
#2: Get to know your customers
What do your customers want from you? How have their expectations changed? What can you offer them that your competitors can’t? In business, you need to commit to market research to gather data on your customers wants and expectations. As seen in the linked article, you can do this through surveys, focus groups, and ethnographic studies. And after finding the answers you need, don’t rest on your laurels. To stay relevant in business, you need to commit to market research regularly. Your competitors might sneak up on you if you don’t, as remember, in a bid to snatch your customers away from you, they will be watching you as much as you are watching them.
#3: Improve your image
Especially when up against the big boys in business, your image might suffer in comparison. Without the budget to match their efforts, you might appear smaller and insignificant in the eye of the consumer. However, as this survey shows, it is possible to appear larger and more professional, despite your lack of resources. Take steps to improve the relevant areas of your business then, including your website and social media presence, to win over the hearts and minds of your prospective customers. And outsource areas of your business to make your business appear larger, such as using a 24/7 answering service to better serve the needs of your customers. These are reasonably low-cost ways to improve the image of your business, so despite your lack of budget, you don’t have to look any less professional than the bigger boys in business.
#4: Step up your marketing campaign
If people don’t get to hear about your business, then you will fall prey to the competition. It’s a no-brainer, and you probably don’t need us to tell you that. However, how much effort are you putting into your marketing? To stay ahead, you need to step up your game. You can improve your marketing strategy with your website, using the ideas in the linked article to reach new and existing customers. You can strengthen your online presence, perhaps by blogging more, spending more time on social media, or by adding a YouTube channel for your business. You might spend more time at networking events, as this will let people see the face behind your business and hear what you have to say. And you might use these low-cost marketing strategies to promote your business further, without a huge dent in your bank balance.
#5: Extend your services
What else can your business offer? The more you have to offer your customers and clients, the higher the likelihood that they will choose your business over another. Think then, and extend your services. As examples, if you are working within the fitness industry, you might get sports massage qualified to provide another service to your clients. If you are working in the catering industry, you might serve the needs of a niche clientele, such as those with food allergies, as an extra service within your business. So, think! Is there something else you could be offering to your existing clients? Could you reach a new demographic by expanding your business? Look at what your business rivals aren’t doing, and then fill in the gaps within your industry.
#6: Look after your current customers
By taking care of your customers, they will take care of you. And by that, we mean they will be less inclined to migrate over to your competition. Therefore, find ways to improve your customer service, such as adding online chat functionality to your website, and training up your employees. Offer benefits, such as discounts or loyalty schemes for regular customers. Stay in touch with your customers through email and social media, and let them be the first to know of any new products or services that you are able to offer. And do something spontaneous, such as sending them birthday and Christmas cards to offer that personal touch.
#7: Look towards the future
To stay relevant in business, you need to keep an eye on consumer and industry trends. This includes paying attention to the media, and on any development that could affect your business. You should read industry journals and websites. And you should get along to conferences led by industry leaders to hear what they have to say about new and future trends. Then make changes to your business where necessary, such as altering your service so you don’t follow these examples and become obsolete, and by implementing new technologies when your budget allows. By future-proofing your business, you are less likely to become irrelevant, as might be the case for some of your competitors.
Work hard to stay ahead of your business rivals. And if you can’t stay ahead of them, at least strive to match them. You will improve your survivability chances if you do, and with hope, you won’t fall prey to the failure that has marked many businesses before you.