How To Stay Ahead Of Your Nearest Business Rivals

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Sorry to say it, but if you don’t look for ways to stay ahead of your nearest business rivals, you will experience difficulties in the future. They might steal your existing customers, attract potential new customers, and make more of a name for themselves in the business world than you will. As a business owner, you need to do two things.

  1. You need to defend your position in the marketplace, being alert to any threats that your business rivals might pose.
  2. You need to stay ahead of the game, finding ways to do well in the long run, and thus securing your competitive advantage.

It’s not easy, we know, especially when you’re busy with the day to day detailings of your business, but unless you run a business that has no competition whatsoever (we would love to know what if this is the case), then you will need to take the threat of the competition seriously if you stand any hope of surviving in the business world.

To stay ahead of your business rivals then, here are some of the things you need to focus on.

#1: Get to know your competition

Who are the competition? What are their strengths in business, and what are their weaknesses? What do they do to win over the hearts, minds, and pockets of their customers?

You need to spend time in research, and you can do this in a number of ways. You might visit your rival’s websites and social media accounts to get an overall picture of what they are offering their customers. You can visit their booths at trade shows and business conferences to get a first-hand look at the quality of their products. And you can cheekily pose as a customer (or get one of your employees or friends to do it) to find out more from your rivals, be that over the phone, through email and social media, or face-to-face. For these and other ideas, check out this article on how to research the competition. When it comes to staying ahead of them, this is the first step you need to take.

#2: Get to know your customers

Not only do you need to research your rivals, but you need to research your customers too. What are they looking for from a business like yours? What do they think about your business? What might cause them to turn tail and migrate to another business?

Get in touch with past and current customers with an email, social media, or telephone survey, and get the answers to those important questions we posed. For your information, you can use SurveyMonkey to create a customer satisfaction survey, although there are many other survey providers online if you prefer. When you receive feedback from your customers, take action where appropriate, especially when you pick up common threads running between the comments you have received. This way, you have a better chance of retaining their loyalty (and winning back old customers), and this will defend your position against your business rivals.

#3: Improve your image

You need to stand out in the business world, and on a surface level, this begins by dazzling them with the image you convey. Hire a specialist in web design to give your website a modern makeover. If you’re on the high street, give the inside and outside of your store a new aesthetic to engage local shoppers. Update your brand logo if it’s in need of a contemporary redesign. And consider your work uniforms, business cards, brochures, and anything else that is reflective of your brand, and make improvements where necessary. Check out your business rivals too. While you shouldn’t copy from them (you don’t want to get caught up in a legal battle), you should still consider their image, and then take steps to better them.

#4: Be better than your rivals

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Here’s a no-brainer; if you’re not better than them, you are going to struggle to stay ahead of them. However, you need to go beyond surface level. So, while you might do as we suggested in our last point, and improve the aesthetic image of your business, you should go deeper than that. The level of service you offer your customers needs to be better than that offered by the competition, so take steps to improve the way you communicate with them, and offer them something your business rivals aren’t. Your product needs to be better than that offered by the competition too, so look at what you are selling, and find ways to improve it where possible. If you can’t improve the functionality of your product, the least you can do is price it more competitively, or add in any discounted extras to compliment what you are selling. Your rivals will be taking steps to be better than you, so always be on the lookout for ways to be better than them, in all aspects of your business.

#4: Improve your marketing

You might have created an excellent product, but if people don’t know about it, then you aren’t going to sell it! It’s simple logic, so step up your marketing to ensure your product ends up in the hands of as many people as possible. Only then will they see how better you are you than your rivals. So, continue to do as you probably do already and use traditional and digital marketing techniques, but do more, perhaps by hiring a marketing team to take on this aspect of your business to make deeper inroads into the marketplace. Step up your game with these creative marketing ideas too, as they might create a greater impact than what you are doing already. And remember to target the right demographic, so you don’t waste time and money trying to reach people who are unlikely to buy from you anyway.

#5: Keep an eye on the future

Finally, you need to find ways to future-proof your business. You can do this by staying alert to consumer trends, such as by reading articles such as this one, and by surveying your customers. Visit trade shows and conferences to find out more about the latest technologies that are relevant to your business, and invest in any that you think will help you stay ahead of your rivals. Listen to industry professional at conferences and through TED Talks, and learn more about the future from the messages they convey. And keep an eye on those industries that are not directly related to yours, but who could one day threaten your business. Remember the way smartphones killed off the camera industry, for example, and get ready to adapt when the world around you changes. You will need to commit to research, and you will need to be forward thinking, but by doing so, you will stay one step ahead and beat off the competition.

Thanks for reading!

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