One thing most startups normally don’t realize is the magnitude of competition that they are up against. The greatest challenge that you could face while starting up a business is to underestimate the competition. You need all the tools at your disposal to stay ahead of the competition.
If you’re thinking it’s too early to start thinking about competition, you are thinking wrong. You should start thinking about competition as early as when your business is just an idea. Nothing propels success as much as determination and a healthy dose of competition. Here are 4 tips that can help you stay ahead of the competition.
Get to know the competition
Don’t get the wrong idea. This is not simply a win or lose situation. The goal isn’t to send anybody out of business but to boost your own business. The competition could be people in the same line of business as you or people within your geographical area. They could be people that have successfully established a business whom you look up to.
In getting to know them, you are closely observing them to know more about how they run their business. They’ve ‘been there, done that’ so they probably know more about the business than you do. While keeping a close eye on them, you may notice business decisions or strategies that weren’t very favorable and be able to avoid toeing those lines. You can also learn and perfect business styles that these competitors have used successfully for better results.
Bond with your customers
A lot of small businesses that are successful today owe their success to great customer service. You need to treat your customers in such a way that they’d want to come back again. Create a bond with them that makes them feel important and valued. This might require a lot more resources and even more time. It shouldn’t be a bother as the results are almost always worth more than the effort. Think about the reasons you can give them so that they should come to you and not go to the competition. Make them want to stay. This will boost not only patronage but also references.
Be aware of the market
A common mistake new business owners make is that they fail to embrace change. The Nigerian market is always changing so you should learn to adjust. Stay abreast of the situation in the market and also try to find out the needs in the market so that you can meet them and stay ahead of the competition. Keep yourself informed always and change strategies when called for. Learn to ask questions. You’ll learn more about customer needs from the customers themselves so try to be as interactive with them as possible.
Make yourself available at all times
Most small business owners keep themselves so busy they become hard to find. Learn to make yourself available both in person and online. Keep your business phone lines available at all times and be readily available to both customers and prospective customers. This way you won’t only be staying ahead of the competition but also on top of your game.