13 Steps to Beat Your Competition

Whether you’re a small or large business, one of the biggest challenges you face is beating your competition. This article looks at the top 13 ways to get there.

How can you beat your competition? This is important and always an actual question that you will ask yourself as an entrepreneur. This question sounds like asked with too much military voice. Beating is something that military persons 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 competitors have the same things to compete with you and other competitors on the market.

What are they doing? How are they doing business? How do they approach doing business in the market? What are they doing to make their customers happy?

These and a million other questions can give you an accurate picture of your 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 the online retailers similar to you. 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.

analyze your competition

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 are promoting, 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Check out their website. You need to visit each of your competitors’ 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.

How to develop your competitor’s business model?

Here are some things you need to analyze when it comes to your competitor’s business model:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 as possible social media accounts that are current or potential customers of your competitors. Analyze these profiles to get as much as possible about competitors’ customers.
  3. 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 relationship with their customers. Are there some specific communities they are using? How do they sell their products and services? How do their sales funnel work?
  4. 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.
  5. How do your competitors generate income? Analyze what value their customers pay, how much they pay, and how they are paying. Also, consider their pricing strategies and the different revenue streams they have incorporated into their business model.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 normal operation of their business model.
  8. 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 are done by their partners? How do they build partnerships?
  9. 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.

Before some period, I’ve made a Competitive Analysis Template that you can use for this purpose.

Competitive Analysis Template Screenshot

3. 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. Because of that, make a more in-depth analysis of the offers of your most important competitors. Find their advantage and disadvantage. What is better for your offer? Also, what is the most critical part of their offer? What do they try to achieve with their offer?

There is no better way to stand out than 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, too, can capture customers.

It’s incredible how often we think we are providing a better value or service than our competition. What we’re really doing is 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.

4. Create a Better Offer Than Your Competitors

With all the collected information and analysis, why don’t you try to make a better offer from them? All their advantage, let’s be your advantage. All their disadvantage, let’s be your advantage.

You might be tempted to offer better prices, faster delivery, or more unique services to your customers, 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

People care about themselves and their families. They have problems they need solutions to 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 that 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 figuring out 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:

  • What do you think about this?
  • How would you feel if…?
  • What do you need to feel better?
  • Why would you want to be a part of our brand?

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

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 Yours and Your Competition’s Customers Are

You must find ways somehow to be present where your customers are. However, why not be present at the places where your competitor’s customers are?

If they are on Facebook, let your business be there. Also, if they are on Twitter, let your business be there. If they are on the specific trade show, make your business be 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 customers list. For all different types of customers, you must send personalized marketing messages for each kind of list.

One of the most effective ways to persuade people to buy from you is through personalized marketing messages. 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 that they’ll understand. The goal here is to be both authentic and relevant.

11. Be Prepared for Dirty Games

A dirty game is a way of taking advantage of others in business, especially in unfair and unethical ways.

Dirty games can be part of the strategy of your competitors. Be prepared to use a similar defense mechanism if they attack you in such a way.

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 come up with a new way to do it. You have to think outside the box. 

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.

13. Be the First in More Things Then Your Competition

Someone who will be the first to change, innovate, and improve all business processes will become better than the competition. It’s better to be a leader than a follower.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan