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There are so many businesses out there, many of which are bound to be just like yours (or even ahead in the game). That’s why it’s vital to have a plan, not just in mind but on paper. Here are five strategies that will give your business the upper hand when competition is fierce.
Getting your name to stand out amidst an endless stream of information can be hard, and that is why it is important to start small. Get involved in your community. Spread your message, do good work, and reward those who give word-of-mouth recommendations with discounts. And never underestimate the power of high quality corporate gifts. Swag goes a long way and offers excellent subliminal messaging in the form of useful items people will look at on the daily, associating your brand with all those positive vibes. Company pens, anyone?
This one can be scary for the introvert, but you didn’t get into business to be intimidated. Networking isn’t about you. It is better thought of as an ecosystem. By meeting others with similar goals or interests, you are able to build relationships that withstand the test of time. You don’t have to meet someone with a direct outcome or motive in mind. Just be yourself, be genuine in your interests, and a relationship will bloom that may or may not serve your business in the long run. The key is being authentic in your interactions. You never know where a partnership may bloom or great forces merge, helping all businesses involved. But don’t waste your time barking up pointless trees and trying to forge relationships with people who just aren’t interested.
Ask your customers
If you have a product or service already in circulation, ask for feedback from your customers. Avoiding bad reviews is tempting, but businesses need to learn from customer feedback to create better outcomes in the future. By offering great customer service, you can catch mistakes or areas needing improvement early, thus forging a better relationship with that particular customer while also improving how your business operates as a whole. The one caveat: if you are creating a revolutionary product to solve a problem people don’t even realize they have, listening to the customer may not work. As Henry Ford said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
Use change to your advantage
Change is inevitable. Even the most retro of restaurants have i-pads for their roller-skate-wearing servers to take orders on. Instead of fighting change and being left in the dust, embrace it and use it to your advantage. Identify the current issues that match your company values and take a stand to help others. Ensure your business has a unique online presence that’s accessible to the customers in new and innovative ways. Not all ideas will work, but change has a way of making lives better. Keep experimenting and improving your business model with a focus on creating a stellar client experience.
Branding is a way of getting people to recognize your excellence. Symbols such as those of Nike, McDonald’s, and Starbucks are so iconic they’re impossible to forget. These simple “pictures” tell the customer exactly what to expect. By designing stand-out branding, you create an image in the client’s head that represents the quality they’ve come to expect.
When the competition gets fierce, work smarter, not harder to rise above and shoot beyond the other players in your field. Which of these five strategies will you try to give your business the upper hand?