It’s a commonly asked question from many in business that are working hard but never quite seem to be at the front of the queue. They always feel like they are playing catch up with the industry leaders who manage to do it a bit sooner, a bit quicker and a bit better. But there are a number of things you can do the gain that competitive edge that will help you stand out from the competition. This applies to all businesses large and small as we are all in competition with someone, even if you don’t know who it is yet!
- Define your target market – Do your market research on your ideal customers; who are they? What are they looking for? Where do they live, shop, work, etc ? And why are they not currently be looked after by others? Having this basic information will allow you to tailor your business to the needs of this target market to be more appealing to them. Imagine promoting yourself as a family friendly restaurant but not having a childrens’ changing room, a buggy park, high chairs, etc. You can see how matching your offering to the target market’s requirements can make a huge difference.
- Obtain competitor knowledge – This needs to be done initially then constantly updated as new competitors come to the market and existing competitors also up their game as you up yours. Take a look at what they do, how do they do it, what works, what doesn’t work, what are their USP’s, what have they set out as their target market? Much of this work can be done by being a customer and experiencing the customer journey but don’t be too critical it may be that you are not the type of customer they were looking for.
- Make it difficult to replicate – This is about focusing on what you do best and engineering an approach that plays to your strengths while meeting the needs of your target market. In many cases it is the personal element that is most difficult to replicate, so tuning into how you like to talk to people, work with people and treat people will help create that specialness.
- Continual development & improvement – Don’t rest on your laurels as the customer’s expectations are constantly changing. The wealth of information on Social Media and particularly review & rating sites mean that you need to be bringing something new to the market regularly. This can be the product itself, but also think about the whole customer experience and consider the packaging, the delivery, the sales process, the after-sales process so that it continually feels fresh and exciting.
- Predict and lead future trends – If you can promote yourself and your business as an influential trendsetter within your circle of influence then you are in a position to predict and lead the market. Developing yourself as a subject matter expert through Social Media such as Linkedin adds credibility to you and your business, while using visual media such as Instagram commentary media such as Twitter can ensure you keep the freshest content in your target market’s mind.
If you would like to know more about how these steps can be used or how other solutions such as developing your innovation skills can help you to stay ahead of the competition then please contact me Jon Lister or 01302 752700 or at firstname.lastname@example.org