Whether you’re a large or small business, one of your biggest challenges is beating your competition. This article looks at the top 13 ways to get there.
How can you beat your competition? This is an essential and always actual question you will ask yourself as an entrepreneur. This question sounds like asked with too much military voice. Beating is something that military personnel use. However, this is the most frequently asked question from entrepreneurs.
The first step in beating your competition is to plan ahead. When you know what you need to achieve in the coming months, you can ensure that you have a solid strategy that can make or break your company. This will prevent you from reacting to your competitor’s moves instead of planning ahead and using your resources to your advantage.
If you beat your competition, you will have more market shares. If you have more market share, you will have more customers. More customers will bring you higher sales and profit.
Here, I want to share 13 steps to help you win a battle, but not a war, because this war is a never-ending process in the business world.
1. Follow the Steps of Your Competitors
I know that you have strategies, tactics, and plans. But do you know that also your direct competitors have the same things to compete with you and other competitors on the market?
The questions you must ask yourself when it comes to following the competitors are the following:
These and a million other questions can give you an accurate picture of your direct competitors. These answers will help you to build better strategies, tactics, and plans for the competitive battle.
How to start following your competitors?
The first step is getting the jump on your competition by finding their weaknesses. Once you do that, you’re in a better position to exploit those weaknesses. Next, figure out what makes your competition successful and where their success comes from. And then put those ideas into action.
Here are some steps you can take:
1. Learn who your real competitors are.
You may assume that your biggest competitor is just your direct competitor. However, if you’re really a market leader, you have to take into account the entire industry that you operate within. In other words, don’t just focus on your competitors—you should also be aware of your possible competitors in the industry.
For example, if you’re an online retailer, you’d be wise to check out similar online retailers. If you sell boating hardware and accessories, you can ask for feedback from your customers or check similar brands and companies they follow on top social media sites. Also, you can check out the product’s key features, prices, and reviews.
So, with this step, you will need to have a list of 5-10 most important competitors, especially those that are better than you.
2. Gather data about your competitors
The second thing you need to do is gather data about your competitors. Look for any new products launched, recent blog posts published, anything new they promote, or anything else that might help you understand what is happening. Use these things to craft your competitive intelligence and begin your research.
Data about your competition can provide valuable insights into how they sell, strategies they use to attract customers, and how you can beat them.
If you’re looking to find out what your competitors are doing, there are two primary options for you:
- Scan through social media. Check out what your competitors are posting online about your industry. Use search terms for your business, such as “online retail” if you are an online retail store.
- Check out their website. You need to visit each of your competitor’s websites and see what and how they’re doing.
3. Get familiar with the competitor’s business model
Understanding the basics of the competitor’s business model gives you a better understanding of why your business is or will need to be better for your customers. This knowledge gives you insight into your competition’s strengths and weaknesses, which can help you find ways to win. As the saying goes, knowing thy enemy is half the battle.
Here are some things you need to analyze when it comes to your competitor’s business model:
- What is your competitor’s value? Search competitors’ websites and find all their products and services. Learn about their offer and how they market the value for their customers. You can also analyze your competitor’s marketing material and determine their focus when communicating with their potential customers.
- Who are your competitor’s customers? Find the social media profiles of your competitors and check their communication with their clients. Look at the comments on Facebook or different threads on competitors’ social media accounts. You want to find as many social media accounts as possible that are your competitors’ current or potential customers. Analyze these profiles to get as much as possible about competitors’ customers.
- What types of relationships do they build with their customers? Again you can use competitors’ social media channels and websites to learn more about their customer relationships. Are there some specific communities they are using? How do they sell their products and services? How does their sales funnel work?
- What types of channels are they using? Define all channels that your competitors use. Think about their integration with other elements of their business model.
- How do your competitors generate income? Analyze what value their customers pay, how much they pay, and how they pay. Also, consider their pricing strategies and the different revenue streams they have incorporated into their business model.
- What are their key activities? When you know about your competitor’s customers, products, and services and how they sell them and communicate with their customers, you can start brainstorming key activities they have incorporated into their business model.
- What are their key resources? To produce and ship their value, what resources will they need? Make a list of all resources that are most important for the regular operation of their business model.
- Who are their key partners? Who are their partners and suppliers? What type of resources do they get through these partners? Are there some key activities that their partners do? How do they build partnerships?
- What is their cost structure? What type of costs their business model generates? How much are they? Which key resources and activities are more expensive?
4. Understand why your competition is winning customers
Why do your competitors outperform you? Are they driving better conversions, having better website design and content, or are their prices lower? Is their brand stronger? To compete effectively against them, you must understand why your competitors are winning over customers.
2. Conduct Competitive Analysis
When you collect enough information about your competitors, you can start making a brief competitive analysis. With this step, you will identify your most important competitors and evaluate their positions according to different factors.
This step involves evaluating your competitor’s positions based on various factors such as:
- market share,
- product offerings,
- pricing strategies,
- customer satisfaction, and
- brand reputation.
By diving deep into this analysis, you will gain valuable insights that can inform your own strategic decision-making and help you stay ahead of the competition in a rapidly evolving business landscape.
Before some period, I’ve made a Competitive Analysis Template that you can use for this purpose.
One important thing here is to compare your competitor’s offers to yours.
The offer is an essential element that differentiates one business from another. An irresistible offer is something that no one can refuse it. So, conduct a more in-depth analysis of the offers of your small business’s most important competitors. Find their advantage and disadvantage. What is there that is better than what your offer? What is the most critical part of their offer? Also, what do they try to achieve with their offer?
There is no better way to stand out than by comparing competitors to yourself. By analyzing your competition and their customers, you can see why they are successful. Then you can figure out what you need to do to improve your offering so you can capture customers.
It’s incredible how often we think we provide better value or service than our competition. We’re really comparing our competitors to us and trying to convince ourselves that we are better. But there’s a big difference between offering a better service or value and actually being better. Being better means not just offering a service or product of higher quality but also doing things differently from your competitors.
3. Ensure You Have the Best Employees
Yes, if you want to succeed in the competitive market, you must attract the best employees for your small business. Remember that your business’s potential energy will also be based on the potential of your team members. Without them, you are alone in the battle and can not survive in the long run.
Your team members become your trusted allies in the battle for success. Together, you form an indomitable force. So, invest in building a competent, dedicated team who shares your vision, and watch your business ascend to new heights!
To ensure that your small business will be well-positioned to attract, retain, and get the most out of the best employees, giving you an edge over your competition, implement some of these ideas:
- Promote a positive work culture, offer competitive benefits, and showcase your company’s values and mission. This will make your company more attractive to top talents. Foster a supportive, inclusive, and engaging workplace where employees feel valued and respected. Also, you can encourage flexible work hours, provide ample vacation time, and support employees’ personal needs and interests.
- You can offer competitive salary packages that match or exceed industry standards to attract and retain the best employees.
- Provide professional development and career advancement opportunities. This helps improve employee skills and increases their loyalty and commitment to your company.
- Use job boards, social media, and networking events to reach potential candidates. Consider working with a recruitment agency for specialized roles and ensure your interview process is efficient and respectful of candidates’ time. Provide clear communication and prompt feedback.
- Regularly acknowledge your employees’ hard work and achievements. This can be through verbal recognition, awards, bonuses, or promotions. Also, require feedback from your employees to understand their needs and concerns. This can help you make necessary improvements in your workplace.
4. Create a Better Offer Based on Your Competitive Advantage
With all the collected information and analysis, you already know your competitive advantage. So, why don’t you try to make a better offer from them based on your competitive advantage? All their advantage, let’s be your advantage. All their disadvantage, let’s be your competitive advantage.
You might be tempted to offer your customers better prices, faster delivery, or more unique services, but there’s a catch. If you’re not careful, your competitors may follow and copy you.
You need to decide what makes you different from your competitors. Also, you should think about what you offer that others don’t provide. You can focus on these differences by answering this question:
- What makes you different from your competitors?
- Do you have unique services or products that others don’t offer? If you do, your business will stand out from your competitors. It will be easier for your customers to trust you and choose you over the other companies.
- Do you have better prices or faster delivery?
- Is your total value better?
These questions will help you make a better offer than your competitors.
5. Solve Real Customers’ Problems to Attract Customers
People care about themselves and their families. They need solutions to problems and can afford to pay for them.
Talk with your current and potential customers about their real problems. But, be careful because if you ask someone how they are doing, chances are that you’ll get some form of the answer like, “I’m fine.” This is because people tend to avoid looking deeper into possible problems. But, If you instead ask them specifically about the problem they’re facing, you will likely get a far more detailed response.
Find real customers’ problems, not what you think or what your competition thinks is a problem for them. Discover the real and especially actual problems your customers have and want to solve. For those problems, develop a practical solution that you can offer.
6. Know Who Your Customers Are
If you know your customers, you will better understand their needs.
There are two negative effects of unsatisfied customers’ needs: losing potential energy from customers and marketing activities and losing potential energy stored in your cash.
Knowing your customers is critical in determining what products and services to provide and how to best communicate with them. It can also help you understand which channels of communication your customers prefer.
To really understand who your customers are, you need to be able to ask them questions about themselves. Questions like:
These are the kinds of questions you should ask to get inside the heads of your potential customers.
7. Differentiate Your Business From Your Competitors to Increase Your Market Share
How can I know that your business is different from your competitors? If you show me, I will know. If you want to show me, start brainstorming all vital business aspects that differentiate your business from your competitors and use them everywhere.
Use them in all your marketing weapons and all your social networks. Make them shareable.
8. Allow Customers to Tell You How Your Business Can Be Better
The most significant mistake that entrepreneurs can make is not asking their customers what they think. Simply ask. Ask what they think about your products and services. Also, ask what they want. Ask how you can improve the business with them.
One of the best ways to improve your business is to allow your customers to tell you how their experience could be better. This is the only way to understand the real needs of customers. Instead of simply asking what your product or service does or why they bought it, ask them what you can do to improve the experience. This is also an excellent opportunity to determine if they’re happy with their current solution.
9. Always Be There Where Your Target Audience and Your Competition’s Customers Are
To effectively reach your target audience, it is crucial to identify and be present where they are. However, it can also be beneficial for you to explore opportunities to engage with the existing customers of your competitors. Expanding your presence to these spaces allows you to tap into new markets and ensure your business growth, gain valuable insights, and potentially convert those customers into your own. It’s a strategic approach that allows you to broaden your reach and stay ahead of the competition.
If they are on Facebook, let your business be there. Also, if they are on Twitter, let your business be there. If they are at the specific trade show, ensure your business is there.
10. Personalize Your Marketing Messages With Your Customers
Personalizing your marketing messages is a part of your overall work on your business optimization for customers. You must use different segmentation of your current and potential customer base. You must send personalized marketing messages for all types of customers for each kind of list.
Personalized marketing messages are among the most effective ways to persuade people to buy from you. In other words, if you know your customers better than anyone else, you can tailor your communications to them. And if you know your customers’ needs better than anyone else, you can send them messages they’ll understand. The goal here is to be both authentic and relevant.
11. Be Prepared for Dirty Games
When you start achieving business growth, be prepared for dirty games. A dirty game is a way of taking advantage of others in business, especially in unfair and unethical ways.
In the competitive landscape, it’s important to recognize that dirty games can sometimes be employed as part of your competitors’ strategy. Being aware of this reality, you must develop an appropriate defense mechanism to effectively counter any potential attacks.
When some company decides to attack you, it is imperative to stay vigilant and well-prepared, ready to respond with an adequate and calculated reaction. By exercising caution, resilience, and strategic planning, you can navigate through such challenges and uphold your position in the market.
12. Be Creative to Beat Your Competition
Here’s another tip on how to beat your competition: be creative. If you want to do something that no one else does, you have to devise a new way to do it. You have to think outside the box.
Instead of following the same old routines, you must explore uncharted territories outside your comfort zone. Discovering new approaches and unconventional methods will set you apart from the rest, allowing you to carve your own path to success. Embrace the challenge and let your imagination soar as you unlock boundless possibilities.
Creativity is directly related to discovering new ideas or concepts or modifying existing ideas and concepts. At the same time, you cannot easily copy it from your competitors.
Think outside the box, open new markets, find new audiences, and always go the extra mile to solve unsolved customer problems. In such a way, you will beat the competition.
13. Be the First in More Things Then Your Competition
Those who dare to be the pioneers in change, innovation, and continuous improvement of all business processes are the ones who ultimately will be one step ahead of the competition.
Don’t be afraid to be a leader instead of a follower. With this mindset, you will always find ways to explore uncharted territories that will open doors to new possibilities and unlock powerful potential. So, adopt the role of a leader, for it is through bold initiatives and forward-thinking that remarkable achievements and advancements are made.