“Competition is healthy for businesses. It keeps you, the entrepreneur on your toes” – Aliko Dangote.
Let’s imagine this scenario. You can only get petrol and diesel from one source in the entire Nigeria. They’re the only ones that can have filling stations, no matter what area it is. There’s no regulatory board, and no competitors. Think about how high they would hike the price whenever they feel like it.
Sometimes, business owners complain about how the competition is taking away most of their customers. The truth is, while competition might not be initially welcome by business owners, it is really what propels business owners to surpass each other and it is what ensures that customers get a variety of options and the best value for their money. Competition helps to balance the market.
Successful people embrace competition. They borrow ideas from their competitors and use these ideas as tools to improve their own businesses.
Why is competition a good thing for your business?
It improves your business.
When you see a competitor do something, it gives you ideas on things that you too could do to improve your business. If a competitor gives freebies to customers, you too could do the same thing. It opens your eyes to see the edge you have over other service providers in your industry, helping you serve your customers better and improve your brand. Also, from mistakes that other competitors make, you are able to learn what works and what doesn’t.
It makes you value your customers better.
When you have competition, you realize that you can easily lose your customers to competing brands if you don’t treat them right. When you know this, you’ll be consistently seeking and applying strategies to serve them better.
So, how do you stand out from the competition?
Firstly, acknowledge the fact that there is competition.
Watch your competitors and how they do things. What are they doing that works for them? What things are they not doing correctly? What key steps are they about to take? What are their prices like? How can you beat that?
Know your competitive advantage.
Your competitive advantage is that what you have above all the other competitors. It could be expertise, experience customer services, human resources or monetary capital. Leverage on your competitive advantage to stay ahead of your competition.
Be professional and nice.
The way you treat your customers plays a major role in whether they would rather patronize you or your competitors for the same thing. Be polite, nice and respond to customers complaints quickly and calmly. Build relationships with your customers. If possible, know their personal preferences and smile all the time. They’ll keep coming back.
Do giveaways and loyalty-reward schemes.
Have you ever thought of rewarding your customers for loyalty? Good ways to do that would be to get loyalty cards and reward them for scoring points and having promotions, particularly during festive periods.
Have a genuine interest in providing value to your customers.
Rather than being solely focused on selling out and expanding your clientele, focus more on the value you can add to your customers.
Don’t be scared to diversify.
What other related products or services are your customers interested in? You could diversify by providing related products and services that your customers are interested in. For example, if you sell food, you can sell drinks. Follow customer trends and invest in new technology.
Look at the current state of your business. Look at the competition around you. What are they like? What are they doing right? Who do you want to be like? Have a clear picture of where you want to be in exactly a year from now and use the advice given for your business. You never know where it could take you!
All the best in your business!