Today it’s not only challenging to be in business but the question of how do you get more business from the thousands of new companies starting up every day.
With many people losing their jobs or not being able to find new employment, many of these people are electing to start their own businesses.
For many small business owners this presents the challenge of increasing competition and giving more consumers more choices in selections in an ever growing marketplace.
So that brings us to the question of how do we stand out from the competition as well as how can we separate our businesses from our fellow competitors.
Perhaps you hope to develop a product or service that has not been seen before or may be design a brand with a new expression and distinct values. Perhaps you may even be aiming to be extremely unique in your marketplace.
In reality there a few ideas and products that are actually unique. More often new products and services solve the same problems or fulfill the same needs as others, but in a slightly different way or with a slightly different twist.
The good news is that an idea does not have to be unique or completely new to the marketplace to be a good business idea. It is enough for business to be distinctive or just to be better than the competition at what it currently does.
There’s some good ways to accomplish being aware of your competition and what your competitors are doing to address the needs and the value they bring with products and services as well as price points into the market you serve.
Take a look at the competition
The first activity to being better than the competition is to find out what the competition is doing while keeping informed and doing some simple research. What you basically want to know is what products are competitors are selling to which consumer groups and the price of their products and services. You must also relate to any special characteristics if any and finally, your research should include a look at how others in the market communicate and market their business.
So how does one do this.
One of the easiest ways I know is it’s as simple as going to Google. Google will provide you with about as much information as you’ll need about your competition and finding out how they market, advertise, if they have a website presence, if they have a blog, almost anything you can think of.
The Internet has revolutionized many aspects of having a business in the way that you as a small business owner can gather the information about your competition.
In the past it took a greater effort to identify the other players in your field or to simply get a sales brochure from the top competitors. Today, this information is available to us the minute we look for it.
For example, with Google alerts, which is a free service, it can set up keywords or keyword phrases, that pertain to your specific product or service in your market, and the then receive emails when there is news of a product or service from any of your competitors.
The Internet, however, is not the only source of information to keep up on the awareness in your marketplace and what your competitors are doing to bring new products or services as well as pricing strategies to capture consumer attention. Other places may include magazines, professional papers or just local advertisements where other businesses that are similar products for services are addressing the needs and competing for the customer’s dollar.
The important thing is to be a constant student of the game.
How can you be better than the competition.
Knowing what to look for about the market and the customer. You can take some steps towards becoming better than your competitors. This entails making a systematic comparison of your own company in the competitors, we look at all the various aspects of your product in or service as well as your company and begin to make the comparisons.
One of the simplest ways to do this is to make a chart identifying five key areas of your business.
1). Your product design or what your service entails. 2). The buyers experience. This one is huge and that’s one we talked about frequently. If you’re not serving your customers,identifying why they buy from you, what they like most about your product or service, if their experience with your company is positive and what improvements you may make then you’re missing a huge component. .3). Customer relations. The relationships and behaviors you have with your customers is more than just when they walk in your store or they call you on the phone about the next order or problem they may be having. You need to consistently be engaged with all of your customers on somewhat of a regular basis whether they are buying from you at the present time or not. This can be as simple as making service calls to ensure customer satisfaction or simply sending out a postcard of thanks or reduction of price on their next order of business with your company. This component alone is becoming more critical as competition in your marketplace becomes fierce. 4). Brand value and 5). Price.
In these areas you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of your company in relationship with two key competitors and identify where your strengths as well as your weaknesses may lie and implement strategies tuned to continually increase on your strengths as well as continually identifying ways to work on the weaknesses of your company.
Setting yourself apart from the competition can be a challenging way to think in that are certain risks as well as rewards when moving forward on this very unique idea. It takes a a lot of resources to be the best of all times, while in the attempt to be the cheapest one might end up with you being the one who makes the least amount of money.
So don’t let price be a key indicator when separating yourself from the competition.
A key strategy in setting yourself apart is make your design, your products, and your company in a way that positions you outside the common notions of how a company acts in that particular industry.
One way to do this is to consider whether you can create a whole new market by going beyond the traditional limits of your industry, and maybe become a part of several small industries at the same time.
A few examples to illustrate are, the restaurant that becomes a school for chefs, the fitness center that offers a dietary and nutritional classes in the evening or which commonly we see in bookstores that offers pastries and Starbucks coffee.
You’ve added value to your customers and identified other markets which you now are part of. Customers coming into your store will identify with this and in many cases take advantage of these products or services versus going outside your company.
To make your company stand out from the competition can be at first challenging. If you start to map the process and ideas of how you can stand out with your company, this will only become easier and provide additional income and resources for your customers to buy more as well as more often from you,
But so let’s start the process by first making a list of your competition or competitive products. Secondly do some research on the competitors’ products and compare them to your own and lastly deciding which areas you want to be like the competitors and which areas you want to stand out.
Remember every day is a changing marketplace, and you, your business, and your products or services need to continually change and evolve with it.
Make It Happen,