Being a successful business is a lot more than providing an exceptional product and reputation. You also need to constantly remain one step ahead of the competition. In terms of beating the competition, this can mean something different for every single business. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to staying ahead, and you’ll have your own category of competition depending on the business you’re in.
Being more competitive means learning to better understand your own business and those businesses competing with you, in a very personal way, so that you can make the best decisions for your own professional circumstance.
What Does it Mean to Be Competitive?
Being competitive in business means making your business stand out. It means helping consumers to understand why you’re the better choice with what you offer. Being competitive could mean many different things; it could mean being competitive in price by offering a cheaper option of an established product, or it could mean being competitive in reputation by using your positive brand to your advantage, even if your product price is a little higher.
Being competitive generally means doing what you can to always give your business the edge and ensure that it remains a relevant, as well as a viable, choice for the target market of your product.
Signs Your Business Needs to be More Competitive
- You’re constantly losing business to your competitors
- You’re losing customers in general
- Your business morale may be at a low
- Your inquiries are decreasing, or perhaps non-existent
- You’re finding it difficult to gain sales leads
- Competition is increasing
How to Make Your Business More Competitive
- Conduct More Thorough Competitor Research
In order to know how your business needs to match up to, and overtake, the competition, you need to conduct thorough competitor research on a constant basis. Knowing what your competition is doing and exactly how they are offering their business services is a key factor for staying one step ahead.
- Embrace the New
To be competitive as a business — and remain that way — you need to keep up with the times. This means being aware of new technology, business practices, and trends to make sure that you’re offering everything that is expected of a business during this modern age. Embracing corporate innovation means you can more easily experiment with modern practices and ensure that your business is constantly evolving.
- Ensure Your Customer Service is Top Notch
A lot of business can be cutthroat within a highly demanding market. That doesn’t mean that, as a business, you should go for the cold, hard sell and treat your customers only as statistics whilst trying to get ahead.
Often, it’s the personal touch and the customer care that can make all the difference in a competitive market.
If you’re up against a high number of competitor brands for your product or service, what can easily make you stand out is the care and attention you give to your customers. Especially for small businesses who have more time to provide individual attention, this can really help your customers to remember their experience with you as a positive one.
- Match What Your Competitors Do and Take it One Step Further
Whilst conducting competitor research, there may be many points you notice about the service your competitors are offering. It’s important to, in the first instance, be sure that you’re at the very least matching their service. You can then implement plans to improve upon that and offer more than they are.
For example, a key competitor may be offering guaranteed two-day delivery on a product. You, therefore, need to be sure that you’re offering the same. If you can only offer standard delivery at three days for the same quality product, then your competitor already has the edge.
If you can meet the two-day delivery offer, can you then work to beat this? Can you offer a next day delivery service, perhaps even at the same price? If so, then you’ll be offering a more competitive service.
With this in mind, it’s important to only offer what you can comfortably commit to, however. Don’t offer next day delivery service if you’re not confident it can always be met, or if any reduced cost for a quicker service will mean losing money.
It’s much better to make firm promises you can deliver on, than make difficult guarantees simply to appear better than your competitor brands.
- Learn as Much as Possible About Your Customers
Having to hold your hands up as a business, admit your mistakes, and say that you don’t know everything isn’t a negative aspect. It doesn’t make you unprofessional if you still need to learn how to deliver in an improved way within a competitive market.
Learning about your customers and asking questions of your target market directly can help you to learn exactly what they want. If your competitors are simply conducting general research and not asking specific questions, this may mean you can learn a whole lot more about specific requirements than they can.
Asking customers very specific questions about what they want and expect from your product and service means that you can tailor all your business processes to exactly that. This kind of research and feedback is going to be vital in giving you a competitive edge.
- Tell Your Business Story
Every business has a unique story about how they started and why they do what they do. This can easily become synonymous with specific brands and the ethics they want to address.
Being open and honest about your personal business story can help to establish a connection between you and your target market.
If your prices, product, and service are the same as your competitors, then it may be that this personal story gives you the edge. If consumers take well to your business journey and connect with your reasons for providing the service you do, they may be more inclined to choose you over a competitor business that hasn’t made its own personal story known.