Competition is certain, regardless if you are starting a new business, launching a new product, or selling in a niche market. For this reason, achieving sustainable competitive advantage is important to any business.
Just when you think you have a competitive advantage, your competitors are continuously fighting for your customers and market share.
Small businesses tend to encounter greater competition, particularly from large corporations with deep pockets, greater resources and bigger brands. Like David and Goliath, small businesses can compete effectively against larger corporations by using their size as an advantage rather than a handicap.
Here are five ways to outsmart your competition and achieve a competitive advantage in the battle for more sales, profits and a large piece of the market.
Make Service Your Key Selling Point
While most companies claim to be service oriented, those that are more progressive will back up the claim. Being dedicated to delivering top-notch service will establish a competitive advantage that is unlikely to be duplicated; compared to matching dollar for dollar, staff size, number of facilities and technologies. Providing superior service should always be included as part of your company’s marketing strategy.
Create a Company-Wide Customer Service Culture
Establishing a customer service culture as a strategic tool is useful to institute competitive advantage for any company. By educating all of your employees (staff, managers, executives etc.) the fundamentals of customer service, your company can implement an impenetrable culture that will translate into profits and growth. The best way to incorporate such a culture is to maintain a continuous service program, whereby employees have to complete a refresher course every 90 – 120 days.
Customer Complaints – Don’t Ignore Them
Rather than ignoring the customer complaints or simply managing the number of customer complaints, find out where your company is missing the mark and take prompt action to correct any mistakes or deficiencies. Use customer complaints as a learning experience, rather than just ignoring or finding ways to rationalize them. Creating a service-oriented business can be easily established by continuously refining your reflect to any customer feedback received. This is a bulletproof strategy because it is inexpensive and invisible, unlike costly advertising promotions and state of the art technologies.
Become Active In The Local Community
Small businesses rarely participate in local community events and charities, unlike large corporations. Simply by volunteering within the community, small business owners will tap into a network of business executives that can refer additional business. This is a two-fold strategy; serving the community and the company simultaneously.
Use Creativity When Competing Head-On
Large organizations will often eliminate any small business competition by implementing a diverse pricing strategy, aggressively lowering prices or offering deep discounts. Smaller companies are unable to absorb the red ink for a long period, and eventually crumble and go out of business. This is one of the reasons why start-up businesses fail. The best offense in this situation is to focus on generating creative pricing strategies, rather than trying to match price. A good example is to offer a basic price for your products/services, and charging for additional features and add-ons. Demonstrating value for your product/service will often compensate for higher prices (BMW is a good example).
Successful small business owners are those that recognize that they need to work harder and smarter to establish a competitive advantage. By taking an offensive stance, you can take control of your company’s future rather than letting others do it for you.