No matter what type of industry you’re in, you’ll need to beat your industry competitors in order for your business to grow and succeed. This can be especially challenging for newer businesses taking on established competitors in their field. However, with the right strategies, you can grow your organization and out-compete other businesses. Here are our top tips for beating the competition.
1. Understand the Competitive Market
Whether you’re running an up-and-coming business dealing with the challenges of a startup or are well-established in your field, it’s important to understand the competitive landscape and identify what you’re up against. One way to do this is to conduct market research. You should be sure to research several different aspects of your industry and likely competitors, including what the demand for your product/service is, the market size for your particular niche, your competitors’ pricing and offerings, and more.
2. Follow Your Competitors’ Footsteps
In order to operate at the same level as your competitors, you must (at a minimum) provide the same or comparable services or products as other businesses in your niche. This doesn’t mean that you have to copy your competitors in order to get ahead, but it does mean that you should be well aware of the value your competitors provide and be able to match or beat what they offer. New small businesses can also learn from larger businesses when it comes to saving money, product offerings, business decisions, and more.
3. Build a Unique Selling Point
When it comes to standing apart from the crowd, it’s not enough to just imitate the competition. In addition to matching the quality and services of other businesses in your niche, you also need to offer a unique selling point (also called a unique selling proposition, or a unique value proposition) that differentiates you from your competitors. Your unique selling point will be highly dependent on your specific industry, but it should be something that makes you special to potential customers and solves a problem that other businesses don’t or can’t. A unique selling point is also a great way to build your brand and make a memorable impression on customers.
4. Expand Your Offerings
You should always look for ways to expand your business offerings in order to help your organization grow and to further distinguish yourself from other companies. How you expand your offerings will depend on what industry your business is in. For example, trades professionals could get a secondary license — like a general contractor getting an electrician’s license — so that they’re able to complete more work themselves, distinguish themselves from the competition, and avoid subcontracting out to other businesses or potential competitors. If your business sells a particular product or service, you might want to consider expanding your offerings to include related products, accessories, or add-ons.
While it’s almost always a good idea to expand your offerings, you shouldn’t do so at the expense of sacrificing your branding and core purpose. For example, if you’re a stationery company, you might expand your offerings to include things like fountain pens, journals, and desk supplies, but you probably wouldn’t want to start selling electronics equipment or snacks. Expanding your offerings in a thoughtful, intentional way is the key to providing additional options while still remaining true to your original purpose.
5. Improve Your Branding & Marketing
Company branding can play a role in building a unique selling point, growing a business, and differentiating a brand from the competition. When thinking about what aspects of your business you want to highlight in your branding and marketing, you should consider whether your competitors have any potential weak spots you could exploit.
For example, a contractor who is licensed in multiple nearby states shows a level of flexibility and expertise that competitors lack. Whether you have an electrical license, plumbing license, or general contractor license, getting licensed in multiple states can improve your brand and expand your customer base. Multiple licenses can also make it easier if you need to move your business to another state. Similarly, if your competitor is a large established brand or corporation, you could emphasize your own small size, exemplary customer service, and attention to detail that might be lacking from a bigger brand.
6. Know Your Customers
It’s important to know your customers, potential customers, and target audience in order to sway them away from your competitors. This includes basic demographic information like your customers’ age, gender, and where they live, as well as more detailed information, like what problems they need help with and why they would be interested in your products or services. Building customer profiles of hypothetical customers can help you to get a better picture of who your customers are and what they’re looking for.
7. Solve Your Customers’ Problems
After you have a better handle on who your customers are and what they want, the next step is to position yourself as a solution to your customers’ problems. You can get a leg up on the competition by considering how you can solve customers’ pain points — specific problems to which you can provide ideal solutions. For example, a contracting business could provide a certificate of insurance or secure a bid bond or a performance bond upfront in order to secure a contract and alleviate customer fears early in the bidding process.
8. Attract New Customers
While it’s important to retain happy current and past customers, you should always be on the lookout for potential new markets or other ways to grow your customer base. Marketing strategies like paid advertising, SEO, social media, getting your business involved in the community, and more can help to introduce new customers to your brand. A steady stream of new customers can help to ensure that your business continues to grow and thrive.
9. Be Dynamic & Adaptable
In order to stay ahead of your competition, you need to be dynamic and adaptable. This means quickly adapting to any changes in your industry and the world, from minor changes to events like the COVID-19 pandemic that can have a global impact. Whether this means expanding your online presence, offering additional services, switching up your branding, or another solution, it’s important to keep up with the time and stay abreast of a constantly changing world.
Dynamism and adaptability can be balanced with a commitment to planning and scheduling your business projects. By combining the structure of a schedule with a commitment to growth and change, you can have the best of both worlds when it comes to your business.
10. Think Outside of the Box
If you want to get and stay ahead of your competitors, you need to think outside the box. Creativity and innovation is the key to realizing long-term business success. You should always be open to new ideas and approaches, and solicit advice from employees and colleagues in order to ensure that your business is the best it can be. Asking for advice and listening to suggestions from your employees can also help you to attract and retain top talent in your industry, which can, in turn, cement your advantage over the competition.