By: Maurine Anderson
Trying to give your small business an edge over your biggest competitor? Here is a look at some of the reasons your competitor might be beating you.
They use better software.
Did you know that your software has the power to help you predict industry trends and pinpoint potential areas of growth? As this article points out, the most competitive and successful businesses have modeled their businesses around enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that will grow with them. They have digitized everything including financial tracking, financial reporting, inventory control, and other operations so that they can stay on top of operations and predict future trends. If your business is struggling to find an edge over a competitor, ask yourself if you need to update your software to better serve your needs.
They are filling a void in your industry.
One way to really set yourself apart as a business is to find a void in your industry and then fill it. Doing so will make you distinctive, and it will bring customers to you because your are the only business that fills that need. Do you run a baked goods shop, for example? Think of something that might set you apart as a baked goods shop, such as offering gourmet glasses of milk to go with your baked goods or offering a delivery cupcake service.
They have a stronger brand.
How does your competitor’s brand compare to your brand? Do they invest in high end letterpress printing for their paper goods, for example, or do they have a reputation for engaging heavily with their customers on social media? You’d be surprised at how far a good logo, high quality coasters, well designed social media graphics, and rapport with customers will go in strengthening your brand. Take a look at how you can improve your branding and social media strategy to have a stronger rapport with your target consumer base.
They update their marketing strategy as social media changes.
In the ever-changing digital world we live in, consumer trends and social media dynamics are constantly evolving. Facebook once updated its algorithm to place more emphasis on links; Twitter changed its feed to make more room for images; and Instagram recently started allowing users to upload multiple images in a single post, for example. Social media platforms are constantly changing the way we use social media, and as a small business it’s important to change your marketing strategy to adapt to these changes. Don’t be afraid to change your marketing strategy almost constantly in order to keep up!
They use better equipment.
What equipment are you relying on on a day-to-day basis to keep your business afloat? Are you using old computers for your online marketing, for example, outdated camera equipment for your photography needs, or subpar video equipment for your video tutorials? As this article points out, you can’t always take an “off-brand” approach when it comes to the equipment you use to run your business. Take an inventory of the equipment you’re using and ask yourself if you have the means to update what might be holding you back.
They don’t compete with price.
Many businesses who are struggling to find an edge over competitors feel that they only way they can compete is to lower their price points. Doing this, however, can cause you to incur losses at unsustainable levels. Moreover, it make you seem less valuable to consumers, even if you are offering the very same goods and services as your competitors. It may also make it hard for you to raise your prices back up when you do finally gain some traction as a business in your industry. When in doubt, look for other ways to set yourself apart as a business in your industry—that way, people will tie more value to your business, and in that way, your goods and services will seem like a bargain.
They offer a better good or service.
Finally, of course, your competitor could be simply offering a better good or service. When this is the case, it’s important to reassess how you do things as a business and to identify potential areas of improvement. Does your competitor offer better customer service? If so, consider introducing a new guarantee that will give you a stronger reputation for customer service. Do they use higher quality materials? Take an inventory of your suppliers and see if you can negotiate getting higher quality materials for a decent price. Sometimes there really is no shortcut to beating our your competitor—you simply have to evolve yourself.