How to Handle Competition in Business

Competitors. Love them or hate them, they’re part of business life. Having competitors can be a huge benefit to you or your business — if you know how to deal with them. Here are a few real-world strategies you can use to learn how to beat your competition in business.

  • Know your market
  • Compete strategically
  • Adapt, respond and build lasting partnerships

Competition within an industry is better than no competition at all. In fact, competition is a good thing for businesses. It makes companies go harder, and it forces them to innovate and stay up to date with their products. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t ever intimidating.

Remember, Just because another company is hitting it hard doesn’t mean you can’t keep up. You may just need a more effective strategy. By focusing on ideas that will make your company stand out from competitors and keeping your customer base more than happy, you’ll be able to effectively compete and thrive in business.

Know Your Customer

If you don’t know your customers, you really are just shooting in the dark when it comes to marketing. Just as shoppers are starting to become more interested in what companies stand for and how they make products, businesses need to take a deeper look into customer desires and values.

Social media tools provide marketers with a range of information about customers. Social media analytics offers businesses an unprecedented and valuable window into customer behavior. By studying your customers’ online activity on their favorite social platforms, you can discover when and how your customers are most likely to convert.

The companies that have succeeded often do so by creating a strong sense of community, and view their customers as friends instead of numbers. By taking the time to understand their market completely, they’ve been able to form strong relationships with customers. This results in quality leads and sales.

Know Your Competition

Get to know your competition, including any new competitors. The internet can provide a plethora of information about your competitions. Use it as your guide by following their social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter and joining the relevant groups to find out what they’re saying about their products or service.

What are your competitors providing that’s different from what you are selling? What’s their story?

When analyzing your competitors, pay close attention to what they do (and don’t) do, then look for ways you can imitate and improve upon different aspects of their business model. It doesn’t take much to go the extra mile and fill in any gaps. One good example of this is auto dealerships that offer shuttle services to and from home or work, or auto rental services when purchasing a new car. You may not find this at all dealerships today, but it’s a great way to differentiate yourself from other dealerships.

Know What Sets You Apart

Learning how to handle competition is all about looking at your business and finding what makes you different. You then need to find a way of turning that difference into a customer-pleasing feature.

If the first thing that catches someone’s attention is your price, and you have different prices than the competition, maybe this will be your different angle. Maybe you can highlight how ethically and responsibly you source products. Or maybe you are better known in the industry because of your good work for charities or social causes.

Once you have identified what makes you different, you can play that angle up to draw attention to yourself. You can speak about your values and show how your mission differs from your competitors. This will separate you from the noise and help drive conversation.

Whatever it is that makes you different, make sure to put it out there for the world to see. Show people why you are different and they will come flocking to you.

Brand Strategy

If there’s anything that defines a company, it’s its branding. A brand is basically the imprint of your company’s image – what the public knows you for, what it identifies with you. It can be everything from your logo to your product packaging, to how you treat your customers upon contact. In other words, branding is the ‘face’ of any business out there.

How accurately does your company brand represent your messaging? If you’re not quite sure, it’s probably time to examine how well the two meshed. Elements of your brand identity should reflect your messaging and reinforce your message. Making sure the true voice of your company is integrated into all messaging is vital.

A great way to understand how your brand is connected to your message is to look at how it supports a call-to-action (CTA). A CTA is a phrase you use, usually in a button or link, that tells people what action they should take.

Your messaging is what guides your customers to make the buying decision that best fits them. This includes everything your customers read, see and hear about your brand. Stay consistent in your messaging across your branding to reinforce your message to potential buyers and existing customers.

Business Partnerships

Businesses all around the globe are looking for ways to expand, making partnerships a very popular option. While not every opportunity that rolls by is going to be a good fit, there are ways to make sure you’re finding the right partners. In this Business 2 Business (B2B) economy, there’s an insatiable demand for partnership deals that yield higher profits.

It wasn’t too long ago when businesses stuck to doing all the work by themselves, but now, e-commerce partnerships can be a great way to boost sales and revenue. A partnership could provide access to needed product or services, increase your market visibility, or build relationships with other businesses that foster long-term growth.