Regardless of your industry, running a small business is certainly challenging. Aside from the financial constraints, manpower requirements, and operational difficulties, one of the biggest challenges you have to face is competition. However, as they always say, business is a competition and competition is in itself a business. The big players in the market, with their massive marketing budgets and unmatched purchasing powers, makes it hard to compete.
While rivalry might seem like a negative thing for your business, it has its own share of advantages. Although it’s true that competition makes getting customers and sales difficult, on the flipside it encourages you to strive harder and push yourself to the limits in order to be able to manage your business well. Additionally, it forces you to stay focused and persevere on improving the quality of the products and services you offer.
Here are some ways to capitalize on the positive side of competition and use its advantages to make your small business successful in the long run.
Pick your niche and promote your strengths
As a small business, it’s impossible to compete and win against the biggest rivals within the industry. But you can start slowly by choosing a market segment and gradually building your own following. Whatever trade you’re in, the industry is so vague that there are untapped categories waiting to be discovered. Finding a niche can be a daunting and time-consuming experience, however, recognizing the right market and selling to the correct customers allows business growth beyond strict competition.
Likewise, capitalize on the strengths of your products or services. Find out what makes you stand out from the crowd, whether it’s an offer that is better than the rest or an exclusive product that can’t be found elsewhere. The key element here is to know your competitive advantage and use it to leverage your business.
- Instead of imitating your opponents’ strategy, focus on your own advantages.
- Use unique selling points to highlight your brand and attract customers.
- Don’t concentrate on having a broad range of clients, but target smaller, more specific patrons.
Focus on great customer service and connect with your audience
Another tip on how to overcome your competitors in business is to provide impeccable customer service at all times. Even if you have the greatest products and the most affordable services, without immaculate customer service no one will stay loyal to your business. Make this your top most priority and always exceed customer expectations by solving their problems in the fastest time possible, responding to their queries, and listening to their suggestions.
Compared to big corporations, who don’t have the time to incorporate feelings when giving customer service, this is where you can differentiate yourself as a small business. As much as possible, develop a more personal and stronger connection with your clients. Appreciate their presence and engage with them through different platforms. Connecting with your audience is equally a great way to increase your customer base.
- Send handwritten thank you cards or notes whenever you can.
- Don’t use scripted responses when dealing with customer complaints.
- Use social media to easily communicate with your customers.
Innovate your business processes
The competition in business is undeniably tough and that’s a fact you’ll just have to accept. To outshine your competitors, it is important to make your business process as smooth and efficient as possible, and one way to do this is through innovation. While big companies have the luxury to build a new platform or spend thousands (or even millions) of dollars just to try out a new technology, as a small business you don’t have such resources to modernize your business.
The good news is that innovation doesn’t need to be bold and glamorous. It can be as simple as improving the existing process and introducing new twists to make the structure suitable for your business. Additionally, you can use tools that can make daily tasks run faster and more efficiently. Some areas where you can use tools to improve operations include but are not limited to:
- The use of CRM to improve your ordering system and product inventory.
- A web ordering system where customers can easily buy your products or services.
- Software for tracking your expenses, settling bills, and managing payments.
Keep an eye on your competitors
Copying your competitors does no good for the success of your business, but that doesn’t mean you should disregard them either. While focusing on your own brand and sales and marketing strategies, keep a close eye on your rivals. Knowing the current market, announcements, and latest innovations of your competitors help you understand where there are opportunities.
Most of the time, small businesses are not considered a big threat to top companies working in the same trade, so they won’t pay much attention to what you’re planning and doing. Use this as a good starting point to go ninja on your competitors and try to take their market in a silent battle. Keep in mind that to beat your competition, don’t focus on them however never ignore what they are doing.
- Hire someone to be a mystery shopper with your top rivals.
- Keep an eye on all their social media accounts and note their strategies.
- Once in a while, visit their website to check their latest offers or products.
Attract the best employees
The last but definitely not the least tip on how to overcome your competitors in business is to build a powerhouse team of employees. From serving customers to facing clients and creating marketing plans, behind every successful business are hardworking employees. They are the face and backbone of your company, and they contribute a special part to the success of your trade.
Hire the best and most talented employees you could ever employ. Your rivals might have 100 employees, which is far more than your team, but quality over quantity will make a huge difference to your business. Remember to focus on having the greatest employees, not more employees. Here are some tips on how to attract talent for your small business:
- When listing vacant positions, publicize them on all platforms available.
- Extend your hiring and application process if the post is not urgent.
- Thoroughly discuss the advantages and benefits of working with your company.