Nowadays operating a successful business has become very hard. In the past a new good business idea could easily find its spot within the market, could attract customers through simple marketing and thrive, at least for a while.
You were never alone in the market, competitors always existed. But customers around your area had no choice but to deal with your business and a couple of competitors.
Everything changed after the internet. New ideas were easy to come up with at first, using the new technology. Then after a while ideas became less original, imitating businesses became very common, everybody became an online business owner, customers have tons of choices and competition became vicious.
So, how to face competition in business? Here are six steps that will help you beat your competition and have a successful business.
1) Know yourself “Products or Services”
Before you try to find customers that would like the product or service you offer, you have to know it first. What are its uses? Is it really useful? What are its pros? What are the cons? Does it have a growth potential?
You have to ask yourself all of these questions, and when you find the right and honest answers, you can discover your potential in the market.
But before you decide whether your product or service is better than the other or if you think your prices are less, you have to know your competition. Maybe you are not that different after all.
2) Know your competition
So, how can you know your competition?
For example if you sell shoes, go to more than one of your most popular competitors, online or offline stores and live the experience, find their available locations, go there, go around the store, ask the salesperson to get you the ones you like, try them on and buy them. That way you have experienced the service competition offer, whether the shopping experience, the available merchandise, the atmosphere, check the prices and the customer service. After that you can wear those new pair of shoes and check if it’s comfortable or durable.
On other hand you can try to return another pair and see how smooth the operation goes. What are the additional services available? And the after sales service.
Now you can compare your entire business operations to the competition. And now you can answer questions about your products and services one more time, but this time answers might be different and more realistic and true.
Currently you have real information about your product and can decide what are the competitive values your business can offer to your customers, but who are your customers? And will they appreciate those values you offer?
3) Know your customer
If we are talking about the same shoe business, according to the types of shoes offered, certain types of customers will be attracted to your brand.
You can be selling sports shoes that are of high quality, well known brands and high prices or women’s shoes, of moderate quality, made in china, fashionable and of low prices. Do you think that types of customers attracted to those two categories of shoes are the same? … The answer is NO.
Each type of product or service has different categories, each category can attract different types of customers, and each type has different behavior, psychology, places they go to, age and amount of money they are willing to pay for products and services. Those aspects will affect choosing the right objectives and strategies to compete with competitors, reach the right customer or as we call it target customers before competitors, thus beat the competition.
4) Position yourself
Positioning your business is simply answering honestly this question briefly “What makes my business unique?” After collecting reliable information on your product, your competition and having a clear vision of your target customer, answering this question will be simple.
In other words what can set your business apart from competition and add more value to your customer can be two or three pillars for example offering products of high quality for reasonable price, so the quality and price are your main pillars or offering personalized items delivered to your doorstep, now personalization and service.
Positioning yourself correctly is reflected in your strategies, your branding and messages to help you win customers from competition.
5) Pick the right strategies
Now you are ready to select strategies to compete with your competitors and win your customers. Even small businesses can compete with big ones choosing the right strategies.
Your strategies can be reflected in your product or service quality, uniqueness or features, the pricing, your location and the promotional activities to communicate and reach your target customer.
Look for ways to bring additional value to your customers by making strategic alliances with vendors or companies that offer complementary services. This can help you increase your offerings and give your customers something your competition hasn’t yet thought of.
6) Digital presence
In this era, if you are not online you are not there. No one will know about you, or even if they do and they looked you up and did not find you online, you will lose credibility. Some customers still appreciate the physical presence of stores and still love to have the traditional shopping experience but they still like to have an idea about what you offer before they visit your store.
Most businesses choose social media as their way of digital presence, but even if you choose only social media, which type of social media will you choose? Is it right to be only on social media? Do you need a website? Is it better to have an application?
Getting back to all the information collected, you will have a clear vision of the best digital media options for your business.
Finally, going through all the steps discussed in this article, you will have what is known of a clear Marketing plan. A marketing plan should be prepared before you start your business, and be updated throughout your business's lifetime. But if you don’t have a marketing plan already it is never too late. You can make it at any stage you feel that your product is not doing well or can do better. It will help you beat your competition.