Healthy competition among businesses is usually one of the key factors in the growth of a business. Competition keeps you on your toes and always trying to think ahead in order to stay ahead of your closest competitors.
Sometimes competition brings out the worst in us. It can cause us to stress out and keep us constantly coming up with ways to pull the rug out from businesses similar to ours. There is a way to remain competitive and get more customers without resorting to nasty tactics and, in the end, they can make your brand much stronger as a result.
Here are then ways that you can destroy your competition without becoming a total small business villain.
1. Offer Better Quality
What a better way to start off such a list. This is an obvious one but, as many of you know, is easier said than done in most cases. And here’s a secret about better quality goods and services: it’s a surefire way to avoid having to drop your prices and fees. If you have a quality that is superior to your competitors, most of your target audience isn’t going to mind paying a higher price. For a small business, anytime you can put a little extra effort and care into a project or service, it’s going to improve your quality and your brand image.
Improved quality also means that you aren’t offering the same old generic thing that your customers are used to seeing. Steer clear of offering anything that resembles something that is being mass marketed or offered by hundreds of others. Better quality means being unique and that, in the world of small business, can be the most important thing.
2. Become More Efficient
This goes hand in hand with quality. Being more efficient means going above and beyond to exceed your customers’ expectations. If you tell them you’ll have their job done by Wednesday at noon, try to have it done on Tuesday afternoon. Social media and the easy access of the internet have spoiled the public in terms of instant gratification; if you can meet this need with your goods or services, you’re golden.
Of course, don’t let your desire to become more efficient impede your quality.
3. Become More Retro (and aware of current styles)
Being retro these days is all the rage. Of course, it helps to know what retro is. Have you seen Wreck-It-Ralph? There’s a great definition of “retro” in there: “Old but cool.”
The magic of being retro is that is has brought older styles into current trends. This means that retro styles are great for a much wider range of customers—anyone under 35 or so and anyone over 50. It makes your brand a bit more relatable and also gives you a nice steady design platform from which to grow and transform your band in the future.
4. Take More Risks
Believe it or not, small business can play around with risks much easier than large businesses. As a small business, you aren’t being locked down by huge rule books and policies that were created roughly around the time Noah was cruising on his ark. While some business owners do have a moral code they try to adhere to, there are a few basic risks that end up paying off in the end. Here are a few facts that are associated with risks that need to be aired out just to stay honest to your business:
- Sex sells. It always had and it always will. Don’t be afraid to use it (to some degree) in your advertising
- Awkward humor is in. Give your audience what they want.
- Being risqué shows your customers that you’re willing to take a chance. For adventurous clients that want to try something new, this will make you more attractive.
5. Build exclusive relationships
This can be tough for a business that is just starting out. But if you can manage to wrangle friendships with local distributors and suppliers relevant to your business in your area, you’re several steps ahead of your competition.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you own a small advertising business in a city of about 200,000 people. After some schmoozing and several phone calls and lunches, you manage to foster an exclusive business relationship with the city’s largest and most well-respected printing company. This means that only your clients will benefit from that printer’s high quality. You can add this as a feather in you cap when you’re sharing great details about your brand to customers.
Also, your competitors no longer have that amazing printer to choose from. When clients find out that they don’t have access to this fantastic printer, they may just bring their business your way.
6. Get Behind a Cause
Let your customers know that you are socially aware and that you, like them, are concerned about societal issues—from the environment to your local pet rescue home, there are tons of areas to get involved. Whether you’re taking huge strides in going green and recycling or pledging a small amount of your profits to help underprivileged children in the area, these are the sorts of small factors that can help sway a customer to bring their business to you.
A word of warning: don’t get into a pissing contest with a competitor over these things. Remember, at the core of it all, you’re doing these things to help someone else…not to better your own business. Causes like these should not be a competitive matter between businesses.
7. Exceptional Customer Service
Here’s another no-brainer. You should go above and beyond to please your customers. And yes, this includes those times when they are giving you an earful over a mistake that was based on their own input and not something you did.
Suck it up. The customer can be wrong from time to time, but you need to clear your head of that fact. If you want to offer customer service that leaves your competition in the dust then your customer is always right. Bend over backwards to meet their needs and always remain sympathetic. Stay polite at all times and treat every new person that comes through your doors (or your e-mail inbox) like family.
8. Make Your Website Sleek and, Above All, Simple
Your website is one of the most important tools you have—especially if you plan to do business outside of your geographic area. Therefore, it should be easy to find, attractive, and simplified. You don’t want people having to hunt around your site for a full minute looking for your contact information. If they can’t find what they need within ten seconds or so, most internet users will skip your site altogether and head somewhere else.
9. Give Them Something for Free
Freebies can go a long way in terms of brining in customers as well as retaining the ones you already have. The great thing about freebies is that everyone can use them (depending on what you’re offering, of course).
Tee shirts, mouse pads, calendars, pens…there’s no end to the freebies you van offer. Even something as simple as a cup of coffee for someone that is visiting your office goes a long way. It’s these sorts of gestures that really stick with people.
This can be something as simple – but as utterly charming – as offering customers a cup of tea. It really does make all the difference. Check out Supermarket Sarah, who does just that to entice weary Saturday shoppers in to her tiny premises.
10. Wider range of products
Be careful with this one because it can lead to brand confusion. Find your niche, build your core strengths of your brand on it, and then go broader in terms of your specialties.
As an example, if you are a ghostwriter that specializes in mystery fiction, build your brand on that. But then once you are established, offer more than just mystery. Go for supernatural mysteries, thrillers, detective mysteries and so on. Here, you are staying within your specialty but offering more services.
There you go. Sharpen your spears and head out to the battle field to destroy your competitors with these fantastic tips to utterly destroying your competition.