So you’ve had a fantastic business idea. You’ve researched it, crunched the figures, and worked out it will be a profitable venture.
Excellent. There’s only one problem… competition… and lots of it.
Where there’s money to be made in a market, businesses will be attracted and will find ways to take some of that money. It’s the central driving factor in business and one that you should harness, not fear.
As counter-intuitive as it may seem, it can be a very positive sign if you see lots of potential competitors. Because, if you see lots of competition, it means you are entering a healthy market. The laws of economics simply won’t allow lots of competing businesses to survive in an unprofitable market.
In a competitive marketplace the winning factor for you is how you differentiate your business from your competitors.
If you are the same – or appear to be the same – as your competitors, you are not giving potential customers a chance to pick your business instead of another.
Do you want to be an “also-ran” – or have a chance to dominate your market? Here is Bytestart’s guide to positioning your business to beat your competitors.
Analyse the market
The very first thing to do is work out how your competitors position themselves. Read your competitors’ websites as a customer might do and try to work out what message they are sending. Many will make the mistake of positioning themselves by price. Bad move on their part. If a customer picks a business just because it’s the cheapest, then they are unlikely to become a true long-term customer. Instead they will continue to be a “price tart” – constantly picking the cheapest supplier.
Competing on price is a tough way to build a business. You may also find suppliers positioning themselves as having the best quality or service. These days most businesses claim that position, meaning customers no longer believe it.
Truly stand out
So many business owners are convinced they need to make their business seem “corporate” or “professional” that they just end up copying their competitors’ marketing materials. And when that happens everyone ends up looking the same! It’s crazy – but a great opportunity for you. Because in a marketplace where everyone is the same, the business that stands out wins more business. Significantly more business. The trick is to make your business seem so different that you really stand out.
Maybe you will offer a guarantee three times more powerful than anyone else. Or put together the best value package. Or paint your vehicles yellow where everyone else drives black. You get the idea.
One of the best examples we’ve seen of this in action is a London company that sells artificial turf. It has covered its promotional vehicles in the turf! They look amazing when they drive past. Let’s be clear – some customers will be put off by your business standing out in this way. But many many more will choose your business.
You should also build authentic personality into your business. Look at Innocent Smoothies… the products ooze personality. Their competitors can copy the recipes, but they will never be able to copy the personality.
Be the expert
While your competitors are trying to compete on price and service, you should be pushing your business as the expert in your industry. People love buying from experts. You achieve expert status by educating potential customers.
While everyone else is just trying to sell them stuff, you educate them about what they should buy and why… and then wait for them to reciprocate by picking your business.
Talk to your customers
We live in a world where people can “talk” to Hollywood stars through Twitter or Facebook. So why would they want to deal with bland companies that only want to have a one way conversation? The businesses that win have constant two way conversations with their customers, on a one-to-one basis.
The good news is that the internet makes it easy (and very affordable) to do this. And when you are talking to your customers you are helping them decide they should buy from you. There is no downside to having ongoing conversations with customers.