Increase Your Competitiveness

The competition for your customers has never been higher. Your competitor is not limited to fellow small businesses; large global brands and mid-size businesses are in the mix. As a small business leader, you can avoid being overshadowed by these antagonists. Small businesses have many advantages over their larger competitors in both the physical and digital arena.

Let’s take just one trust in small businesses (86%) versus large companies (55%) is an advantage. Plus, a considerable level of competition is necessary for a small business to achieve greater success.  

First, let’s look briefly at why competition is good.

Prevents Complacency – competition pushes business owners out of their comfort zone, and they are driven to take a closer look at their offerings, customer service, marketing, business structure, and more. 

Stimulates Innovation – competition encourages business owners to find new ways to deliver their products and/or services; also, be creative with marketing, customer interactions, and other areas.

Avoid Committing Mistakes – competition enables a small business owner to try new ones that work for your company rather than using the faulty strategies and tactics of others;  

Realize on the Right Path – competition ensures the direction taken is good and provides something people/businesses need.

Think Like Customers – competition forces business owners to reflect on his/her customer experiences and understand what areas of the business model customers love and what parts need improvement.

A small business can grow with the right amount of competition, focus, strategy, perspective, and Innovation. Hence, competition plays a significant role in the evolution of any small business.

Let’s look at how your small business can stand out and succeed in today’s competitive environment.

Know Your Business – What are its strengths? How do its customers perceive it? In today’s world, comments can be found online; consider the sentiments most often expressed about your business. Amplify the favorable. Address negative comments immediately and determine ways to minimize or prevent them from reoccurring.

Define its Value – What is unique about your offerings? What makes it different from others in your niche? Determine your business’s unique value proposition and share it with prospective and existing customers.

Know Your Customer (KYC) – Be aware of the customers your business attracts and additional customers you might want to do business with. Consider why they buy from your company: customer service, price, value, uniqueness, location, easiness, and/or something else.

Solve Customer Problems or Fill Wants – Offer solutions to problems that your potential and existing customers have. Research of the marketplace, your competitors, and your customers will surface gaps your business can fill. Then provide an offering that solves the problem (or fills the want), and your business should generate revenue and garner market share.

Identify Big Markets – If possible, find a large market for your business, then focus on dominating a subset before expanding into niche markets around your initial sub-niche. You will begin strong and growing steadily.

Focus on Innovation – Make changes to existing offerings by introducing new methods, ideas, or products. Compare your products and services with competitors and then outdo them; be better to draw customers.

Make Decisions Faster – Being small has the advantage of a quick turnaround for decision-making or product innovation; your business can be agile, adapt and change with the market.

Offer Great Products and/or Services – If you provide outstanding offerings, encouraging word will get around about your business. You will gain repeat and loyal customers as well as new ones. 

Keep your offering(s) great, and your business will be competitive.

Define Your Brand – What is your business’s customer experience(s)? You want to stay memorable. Think about what differentiates you from others, unique, better. Branding takes time to build into a potential customer’s mind, so your messages need to reiterate and be consistent from your logo to your social media/over the phone/in-person to your company culture.

Select an Appealing Name and Great Logo – A memorable name and an eye-catching logo can strengthen your business. It should be easy to recognize and appeal to your target audience. Further, it should reflect your brand’s personality, the products or services it offers, and the overall character of your business.

Build a Website Experience – Your web presence should be mobile-friendly, as most people checking out your website today do so from their mobile phones. 

You want a user-friendly design that cultivates trust and provides the information your target customers seek.  

Market to Specific Groups – Target people with a specific want or a problem you can solve. Understand who is attracted to or benefits from your products or service. Then position your business as the go-to source. 

As a specialist, you may be perceived as an expert or purveyor of better quality.

Become the Expert – Demonstrate this by providing great content; it will inform your target audiences and give them a reason to reach out to your business and purchase your offerings. Types of content to position you as the expert include: publishing thought leadership on your website, guest blogs on reputable websites where your target audiences are, and providing interesting or valuable data that your audiences seek. Consider creating a desirable free offer demonstrating your understanding of the target audience’s want/need and how you can fulfill them.

Empower/Develop your Team – A strong internal team that feels valued makes all the difference for business operations. Make sure that employees have a say in the direction of the company and leadership is accessible to employees so that their concerns and questions are addressed fully. Also, set aside time to discuss and track professional development goals with each team member. 

Make Your Store (if you have one) Enticing – Your first and repeat impressions are essential. 

Create a great in-store experience that will make people come to your place of business to explore and buy. 

Here is how:

  • start with your target customer in mind;
  • appeal to as many of the five senses as possible;
  • show your customers about your offerings, don’t tell them;
  • use light to capture attention;
  • keep your store fresh and inviting; and
  • organize and decorate, if you need it.

Be an Advocate – If you are passionate about your business, your sincerity for the brand will shine through when you share it with others. Communicate your business’ mission, stories behind the offerings, customer examples (with permission), etc., to bring life to your company and distinguish it from others. Perhaps others will become excited about your business too.

Communicate with Customers – Get customers’ feedback on your offering (sales process, product, service, etc.). This information will enhance your business and develop strong customer relationships. A few ways to get customer feedback include surveys, feedbox boxes, usability testing online and in physical locations, and direct contact. 

Build Solid Personalized Relationships – Make an effort to stay in touch with targets, prospects, and customers. Provide insightful tips, unique data/knowledge, discounts or favorable pricing, and more so they get to know your business better. Perhaps they will follow your business on social media and open and respond to your emails.

Provide Excellent Customer Service – Great service matters to your customers. A customer is four times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service-related rather than what is the asking price or product-related, according to Bain & Co. Figure out how to service your customers well and do it consistently to build their loyalty.

Be Present – Find a way to be the face of the business with your employees and customers. Be actively engaged inside your business and within the community.

Build a Community – It takes time and dedication, but if you build a passionate online community, you may gain the trust and respect of current and future customers. Social media platforms can effectively build community; consider which ones your target audiences utilize. Support local fundraisers and events and/or help out in community projects; it shows your customers that you care about them and where you live. Being involved at the local level creates those authentic and long-lasting relationships with customers.

Offer a Trial or Guarantee – Consider a free trial or even a money-back guarantee on your offering; it will reassure customers that what they buy is worth their money. If you are the only business in your niche providing this incentive, it will help your business stand out and pull more sales than competitors.

Technology – Select the best software for your employees and customers. Small companies have a considerable advantage in changing and adopting new software quickly and efficiently. This flexibility can save your business time and money and allow you to provide a better overall customer experience to your customers.

Summary

Achieving greater success is often helped by the company facing a considerable level of competition. Some ways of turning a competitive landscape into one where your company is successful include:

  • know your strengths and your customers;  
  • identify ways to distinguish your business; and 
  • then, deliver consistently.

There needs to be more than just knowing your company’s strengths and best strategies, you need to put them to work to see positive results.

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