For small business owners the pop-up of a competitor right on your doorstep or online can make you feel nervous. Will they steal your customers? will they be better at what they do? Are their premises or website much better?
Companies such as Coca Cola and Pepsi, L’Oreal and Rimmel, Branston’s and Coleman’s have similar products, but each have unique qualities in taste, price, design and demographic. All competing for the top spot, but equally each having a large slice of the market.
Viewing the competition as a rival may indicate a lack of confidence in your own business, try to look at competition as more of a healthy conflict.
“We all need a bit of healthy competition”
A boost for the economy
Free enterprise and an open market has resulted in a boost to the global economy, opening up the gateway for competition.
When companies compete for business it results in the best service and prices for consumers.
Often there is a drop in the cost of manufacturing because of increased demand, which in turn reduces the price to both business and consumers.
Do you fear the competition?
It is important that you use the arrival of a competitor as a way of boosting your business, giving it a new lease of life and reigniting the passion you had from day one.
Your business may have been around for a while and it is easy to become complacent, especially of you have been doing well.
The longevity of a business thrives on it’s ability to evolve, adapt and reinvent itself. Hence the arrival of a competitor should spur you into action.
Make yourself familiar with the competition
If the business is on your high street it may be worth introducing yourself. That being said, do not approach with the aim of stealing ideas as every business is unique.
“Your business is your dream, no one has the same dream, that’s why your unique.”
– Heidi Bryant
Building a good relationship can bring in business, encourage recommendations and lessen rival-like behaviour.
If the competitor is online is worth looking at their website, what are they offering? try to offer more, adjust pricing if necessary.
Instead of reducing your prices to match the competition, try to offer more in the way of promotions, prizes or other extra services.
Move out of your comfort zone
The introduction of some healthy competition is a good catalyst for owners to move out of their comfort zone.
Most business owners are risk takers. Starting up a new venture is like walking into the unknown, so when it works there is a tendency to stick with it.
There is the old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” , pay attention to the word ‘old’.
This is an old way of thinking and it worked well some 30 years ago. Fundamentally it is important to recognise that times have changed.
Firstly, the variety and choice of products on the market is vast, prices are competitive and businesses are selling on a global scale.
Secondly, modern technology and innovation means the markets are moving much faster, hence the need to keep up.
To generate interest in your business rather than the competitors it is imperative that you move out of your comfort zone and make changes.
Not all changes need to be big, sometimes the subtle changes have the biggest impact.
Competition = innovation
The reason there are so many different company’s providing the same service/product, is because they are all unique.
A healthy attitude towards competition is an accelerator for innovation, triggering a boost in new product design, technology and other innovative ideas.
Changes in packaging, taste, sourcing of ingredients, service offerings, customer experiences and adapting to changes in trends are an effective way of attracting consumers to your product/business.
Supermarkets are great at doing this, with BOGOF offers, Meals for 2 for £10, buy one get second half price as well as visual merchandising displays.
The economy is fuelled by innovation, improving products to suit trends, keeping companies on their toes and giving consumers the best products and service.
Customer service improvements
A key factor of holding onto customers is by improving your customer service process.
Even if your product is good, an inadequate customer service will result in customers looking towards your competition.
Feedback is a fantastic way of improving your customers experience, highlighting key problem areas giving you the tools to improve your business.
Customers will come back time again if they feel needed and well looked after. It may be a call asking how they are getting on or to inform them of your latest offers.
Unsatisfactory or unhelpful customer services leaves a negative impression on consumers and will put a stain on the reputation of your business.
- Embrace the competition.
- Use it to re-invent and bring your business up to date.
- Be innovative – it’s a good time to try something new.
- Find ways of generating new business.
- Look after your customers, past and present.
- Do not copy their ideas. Your unique.
If you are looking to increase your new business development efforts give Research Runner a call on +44 (0)1279 260031 and take a look at our website www.research-runner.com.