Article written by Phil Spensieri, TAB York Region
I’m surprised by how many times a business owner can’t name their competitors. Why is this the case? Aside from when businesses bid for the same opportunity, there really isn’t a situation when owners come across their competition, and no reason to seek them out.
Like it or not, every business has competitors, and to stay ahead of them, you need to understand what they are doing, and also how you are unique: your competitors can offer insights into your own business value, what you have to offer, and what you can do to expand your business’ reach.
Here are some helpful ways in which you can set yourself apart from your competitors and enhance your business’ overall success.
What do you bring to the table?
When I ask business owners why their customers should choose them over their competitors, besides telling me of their “great service or product” they often don’t have an answer. In order to better understand why potential clientele would choose you, it can be helpful to examine your existing customer base. Do you know why your clients chose you initially? What is it that you offer that your customer base won’t find anywhere else?
Asking your customers for feedback regarding the reasons why they purchase from you can add incredible value to your existing business knowledge. My advice is to hire a professional marketing agency to conduct this research, not only because they are unbiased, but also because they know how to write the questions, conduct the research, and analyse the results. Customer and competitive research are often the foundation for understanding what makes your business unique, and what sets you apart from the rest of your industry.
Who are you comparing yourself to?
If I were to ask you to name one thing that your competitors do, what would you say? Would you be surprised if I told you that what you think they do, and what they really do, could be entirely different? Getting to know what your competitors really do can be an important step in helping you determine how you’re different.
This may require some digging, or again, hiring a professional marketing agency to conduct some competitor research. Are you attending trade shows to learn more about what’s happening in your industry? Are you engaged in social media, and have a means of following your competitors through their social accounts? These questions are a couple of simple ways for finding quick areas of comparison.
If you’re looking for an in-depth analysis and research of your targeted customers, consider speaking with an experienced marketer. Having quality research at your fingertips is a fantastic way of gaining in-depth knowledge of the perception of your business, and what you can ultimately improve upon.
What are your goals?
In evaluating what sets your business apart, look back on your business plan. What did you set out to do originally? When you look back at what you’ve accomplished, do the end results match up with your plan?
I’ve found that having a specific, unique vision for your business is one of the first things that will set a business apart as a considerable leader in their industry. Following your plan and evaluating your goals on a regular basis can also help you keep in line with your vision. Maintaining your business goals and vision not only sets you up for success, it helps you maintain your position as an expert in your field.
Getting to know your competitors and learning about how you can better set yourself apart as an industry professional can help you better understand your customer base, market, and value.
For one-on-one business coaching and peer advice from business owners like you, contact TAB today.