It can be tough out there, with so many businesses all jostling for position, attention and sales. In order to survive, your business must stand out from the crowd. Here are ten top tips to help you do just that.
Know your customer
Nowadays, potential customers have access to more companies and suppliers than ever before. So, once they find a business that understands what they want, when and how, they are more likely to remain loyal and come back time and time again to do business with that individual or organisation. They key to attracting loyal customers is to get to know them really well. Find out where they are searching for businesses like yours, how much they are likely to spend and what added extras will attract them to your door. Above all, make them feel valued and understood.
Know your strengths
Ensure that your marketing messages are clear and unequivocal and that your target audience can understand exactly what it is you are offering them and why you can offer a better service than your competitors. Highlight what you do well and gather up as many satisfied customer testimonials as you can to promote your company’s strengths in action. Promote yourself as a proven expert in the field – sign up to speak at industry events, such as trade shows and seminars. Write guest blogs to showcase your knowledge online.
Work out your USP
Every business will have its own USP, or Unique Selling Point. That added extra value that only you can provide in the way that you do. It could be a certain way of manufacturing something, or a certain service that you and your team have honed and perfected until it is truly bespoke and unique. Look out for gaps in your chosen market where you can fulfil a need, claim a niche or offer a new solution to your potential customers’ problems.
Customers appreciate working with businesses that are organised, up to date and capable of managing the administrative and operational side of things. Invest in decent IT equipment and software. Choose interactive gadgets, tools and tech that can help you sort out your admin on the go. For example, if you find yourself amassing lots of receipts that you need to keep to claim expenses or file tax returns, consider investing in Receipt Bank’s intuitive software that allows users to take a photo of a receipt as soon as it is handed to them. Or if you are a bookkeeper this is a great tool. This eliminates the need to keep hold of bits of paper and organises your financial data in a way that is compatible with expense management and HMRC tax filing requirements.
Understand the competition
Always watch what competing businesses are doing. You won’t be the only company seeking new customers and working on innovative ideas for business development. Don’t get caught out. Read the trade press, attend key events and talk to your peers. You may even identify a project coming up that would benefit from a spot of partnership working. If you would rather work alone, however, make sure that your pricing, strategy and customer management techniques are not being unfavourably compared with those of your competition.
Own your brand online
The internet is a company’s main weapon in the battle to remain competitive and secure lucrative customers. Make sure your company website is up to date, well written, properly designed and fully set up for SEO. Use multiple social media platforms, find guest blogging opportunities and join online discussion groups to get your message across. The more proactive your online presence and communications are, they further ahead of your competition you will remain.
Get the price right
Pricing is another key area to get right in a competitive market. Make prices too high and you will put people off as they search elsewhere for a better deal. Too low, however, and you display a lack of faith in the quality of your work. Once you have agreed on your pricing structure, stick by it and only negotiate down when you feel it is absolutely necessary. If your industry has any trade bodies, membership organisations, government initiatives or other external support groups, this can be a good place to research the market rates for your particular products and services in the current market.
Another aspect to consider is how to handle sales. Hiring a talented, proactive sales force is a key way to stay ahead of the competition, as you can send your people out to meet customers at times and places that suit them and so demonstrate that you value their interest and time. A dedicated sales department can help businesses selling products and services, including software and SaaS (Software as a Service) generate top-quality sales leads. If you prefer to outsource your sales team hiring, it is worth contacting a good SaaS sales recruitment agency to help you track down the right candidates.
Look after your people
Talking of people, looking after your staff is the most effective way to stay ahead of the competition. If you have a good team of employees or contractors who work hard, are creative and enthusiastic, you must do everything you can to hold onto them. The last thing you want is a competing business to snap them up from under your nose. So, make sure you are a good employer who pays well and on time, offers attractive added incentives and rewards for going the extra mile, excellent working conditions and a fulfilling job to perform.
Keep thinking big
Never stop dreaming and reaching for more. A competitive business is one that never stands still. If you are doing well, that’s great, but how can you do even better? If you are experiencing a tougher patch, then don’t succumb to the temptation to sink under. Get everyone together to work out strategies to push through the trying times and hopefully come out the other end stronger and more determined than ever to see off the competition.