How to get ahead of the competition
Competition is nothing to fear, as long as you find ways to set yourself apart and stay ahead of your competitors, then you give customers a clear reason to buy from you and not one of your competitors. So, what can you do to stay ahead of your competitors?
1. Be you
Being a copycat of another brand or business can leave you looking silly. Trying to be a clone of one of your competitors or a larger more successful business is pointless. It lacks imagination and you’re not giving customers a good reason to choose you. Keep it real. Be yourself. Customers prefer authenticity because it encourages trust, which underpins all good relationships.
2. Be special
Anyone can be run of the mill, it’s easy. Being special can be difficult and it can take effort, but it’s worth it, because it sets you apart from the rest. Being something that others cannot match can provide considerable competitive advantage. Special is memorable. It’s attractive. It’s engaging. Customers must come to you, because they cannot get what you offer elsewhere.
3. Have integrity
Customers need to know that you always act with honesty and in good faith. Who wants to buy from a business that lacks integrity? Integrity should permeate everything you do as a business. When you act with integrity it helps to build and protect your reputation, which also encourages trust. Having integrity means delivering on your promises, being consistently fair and honest. Having integrity means admitting when you get it wrong, apologising and making amends.
4. Be fearless
Staying ahead of your competitors can take guts. Dare to be different. Without being reckless, have the courage to go where your competitors fear to tread and do what they won’t do. That might mean totally rebranding, launching a groundbreaking new product or service, targeting new customers or diversifying by doing something totally unexpected. Being prepared to take calculated risks can enable you to win big and leave competitors in your wake.
5. Offer unbeatable value
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But offering unbeatable value isn’t simply a question of lowering your prices so that you’re the cheapest option. Price and value are different things. In fact, you can charge more than your competitors and still offer unbeatable value if you provide superior products or services. You should always be looking for ways to add value to your customer relationships in ways your competitors can’t or won’t match.
6. Stay close to your customers
That’s the best way to continue to be able to know what your customers need or want. Lose touch with that and you risk being left behind. Staying close to customers can enable you to change what you do, so that you continue to appeal to customers. Aim to establish a better relationship with your customers than your competitors have with theirs.
7. Provide exceptional customer service
Always go the extra mile when it comes to customer service. Whether pre, during or post sale, provide world-class customer service. Seek to exceed not merely meet customer expectations. Always deliver on your promises and commitments to your customers. Having superior customer service can enable you to attract customers, even if what you sell is the same or similar to your competitors.
8. Embrace technology
It can save you time and money, while enabling you to provide superior customer experience and service. No matter what you sell, investing in technology and making sure you know how to maximise the benefits it brings can enable you to outperform your competitors – especially those who don’t embrace technology.
9. Attract and retain the best talent
Having the best people working for you can ensure that your products and services are the best customers can get. People must want to come and work for you, that means creating the right culture in your business, training your staff to a high level and investing in their skills, while rewarding them for their commitment and hard work, because that can help you to retain them.
10. Play to your strengths
You need to ensure that you safeguard the things you’re known for and excel at. Success isn’t always about change, due priority must be given to the things your business already does well. These are valuable and worth protecting because they’ve already helped you to attract and retain customers (and possibly staff). Make it hard for competitors to muscle in and steel your customers.