While it may not seem like it at the time, competition is actually a good thing. It forces you to grow and do things differently in order to survive. But what happens when you struggle to stand out? You probably need to give it a little more attention than you have in the past.
How to Leave the Competition in the Dust
Every business faces unique challenges within their own industry, but there tend to be some common principles that hold true no matter the circumstances. If your goal is to beat out the competition and elevate your brand to the top spot in your customers’ minds, the following suggestions will most definitely help.
1. Clearly Define Your Brand
Regardless of whether you’re selling similar products and going after similar customers, your brand is unique. Branding is about conveying this unique value to the marketplace.
Resist the temptation to be everything for everyone. The wider your message, the less relatable it’ll be for individual customers. According to branding expert Jim Joseph, the best thing you can do is focus on what differentiates.
“It’s important for your brand to be different than other similar options available to customers,” Joseph says. “Of course your brand experience will ultimately differentiate you, but being unique starts with deciding what attributes set you apart from others. Your goal is to be different and better than your competition.”
2. Don’t Fall Behind
In highly competitive industries, falling behind is a death sentence. You have to stay up to date on the latest trends and can’t afford to let competitors pass you.
John Larsen, owner of Rhino Rooter in Brigham City, Utah is a perfect example of an entrepreneur who recognizes the importance of staying up to date. For a while, Larsen’s drain-cleaning company didn’t have the technology to keep up.
“I’d unclog someone’s pipe, then camera it and still see roots down there. The customers would want them removed completely, so I was continually referring work to my competitors,” Larsen admits. “When you see those dollars going into competitors’ pockets, you start thinking you should do something different.”
What Larsen did was invest in a trailer-mounted sewer and drain line jetter from HotJet USA. It cost him roughly $17,000 – which is a lot of money to Larsen – but it’s allowed him to reclaim business and remain competitive within his local industry. Today, Larsen’s business is thriving and, for the first time ever, he feels like he’s moving forward (as opposed to falling behind).
3. Identify a Void They Don’t Satisfy
One of the first things most business owners attempt to compete on is price. They assume that lowering prices is the best and only way to outlast the competition. And while this is one way, it’s definitely not your only option.
The best solution to differentiating your brand from the competition in a saturated market is to identify a void that nobody else is satisfying. In other words, find a customer pain point that isn’t being solved and go after that with everything you have. Once customers realize that you offer something unique, they’ll naturally gravitate towards your brand. Best of all, you won’t have to cut into your profit margin by lowering prices.
Put Your Brand First
When you’re overwhelmed by competition, it’s easy to get caught up in what your competitors are doing. And while it’s smart to keep an eye out for new developments and how the competition is performing, your primary focus always needs to be on your brand. By putting your brand first, you can focus on growth and put your business in a position to be successful both now and in the future.