“Competition in business is a blessing, for, without it, we wouldn’t be motivated to improve.” – Nabil N Jamal
It’s not very easy to believe that competition is good for business. If taken in the right stride, it drives innovation, inspires you to stay determined and builds team spirit. Not just that, competition can also prove to be profitable as it can expand the market to accommodate everyone. For example, when a popular grocery store chain opens in a small town, it brings more business opportunities to the area. Nearby gas stations, restaurants or other public service providers might end up getting more sales than ever because of the additional traffic heading to the newly opened grocery store.
Sometimes, competition can also be not-so-great for your business. For example, the local grocery store in that small town will definitely suffer the impact of direct competition from the grocery store chain. Resulting in a drop in footfalls and sales. Hence, determining who your direct competition is, is crucial. Companies that provide products similar to yours, share the same geographical market and have similar pricing as your product or service, can safely be considered your biggest competition. While you are using this information about direct competitors to focus and motivate your employees, you also have to make sure your competitors aren’t going to steal your customers in the meantime. Thus, the solution to staying ahead of your competitors is to never get too comfortable and always seek out new ways to offer something better.
Here are three ways to always stay ahead of the game:
1. Innovate. Disrupt. Reinvent.
The competition in the market is relentless. The key to staying ahead of the game is to offer something new to your customers, something more exciting. Therefore, you need to innovate to differentiate yourself. And in order to inspire innovation within your business, you need to be disruptive from time to time. But what does being disruptive mean when it comes to your business?
It means that unlike others in the industry, you don’t just change a few things here and there, but are bold enough to uproot and reinvent the way you do business! Continually looking for different ways to spur growth and innovation in your company by disrupting stagnancy to reinvent your business into a more efficient and profitable one will make sure that your customers stay glued to your product, thereby always keeping you a step ahead of your rivals.
2. Play to your strengths
In a world of sameness, all you need is a differentiating factor that will set you apart from the rest of the businesses and their products. Competing in a market that’s already crowded leaves no scope for expansion. Thus, it becomes imperative to offer something unique to your customers in order to build your own niche and minimize the existing competition. A clear and obvious differentiating factor that sets you apart from your competitors will make sure that no one will ever have to doubt your product or your offering, thereby giving you a lead over others.
To find your unique selling point (USP), dig deeper to identify how differently you solve your customers’ problems and what is the one thing about your product that the customer just can’t pass on. Once you identify your USP, the next step is to sell it to your customer by crafting unique stories around your product which makes your product a part of your prospective customer’s lifestyle. A great example of a company leveraging the art of storytelling is that of Airbnb. They know that their company doesn’t own a product. They just provide a forum to their customers to book or list their property on Airbnb. Hence, they never build a story around their company or any product, instead, they got their customers to tell their stories. They solved their customer’s biggest query- who will be the people I will be staying with and what will the experience be like? Their dedicated storytelling campaign, ‘Stories from the Airbnb community’ answers all these questions beautifully, thereby positioning their customer in the center and selling unique stories that stay with them.
3. Be a great employer
Skilled and motivated employees help businesses thrive. To protect and attract a talented pool of people, you will have to find out what motivates them. Not all talented employees are looking for a competitive wage. They are more often interested in a great working environment along with flexible working hours and job satisfaction. This is when you can use the might of a coworking space to your advantage. A recent study by the Harvard Business Review suggests that people who use coworking spaces see their work as more meaningful, feel that they are a part of a community along with believing that they have more control over their jobs. This, in turn, results in higher levels of thriving along with increased productivity for your business, which gives you an edge over your competitors.
To be at the top of the ladder, you have to keep an eye on your competitors.Devote your efforts and energy into pursuing a great strategy that works for you and helps you stay ahead of your competitors. When you do that, success is guaranteed!