Be honest with yourself – do you feel that you have what it takes to beat your competitors? If the answer is no, then you shouldn’t be in business. Because the truth is, if you’re going to make a success of your business, you have to be able to outdo your competitors. No matter how large and successful your competitors are, you need to find a way to outdo them. The good news is that because you’re most probably a relatively new business, you’re adaptable. Whereas bigger and more established brands aren’t able to adapt as easily, giving you the upper hand.
A mistake that a lot of smaller businesses tend to make is using cheap prices as their only weapon. If you lower your prices too much, you’re going to devalue your business. That’s why, although it’s fine to offer slightly more affordable prices than your competitors, you don’t go too low with your prices. Because, believe it or not, you can put customers off if your prices are too low. This is because they may think that your prices reflect the quality of your products or services.
Low prices aside, there are plenty of ways that you can outdo your competitors. It’s just a case of getting creative; that’s all. You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘think outside of the box’ a million times, but in this instance, it really is important to do so. Because the more unique your ideas are, the more likely you are to be able to give your competitors a run for their money. So, it’s important to be creative.
To help you to outdo your competitors, and ensure that your brand shines, here are some suggestions and ideas:
Make your products or services better.
When consumers buy a product or pay for a service, they are looking for the highest quality. So, if you’re able to offer a product or service that is of a higher quality than your competitors, you’re more likely to be successful. This means ensuring that everything that you offer is well-designed and works seamlessly. All of your products and services should also be incredibly efficient.
Being a smaller company, you can give your products that little extra care, and can ensure that they are made with all the love and care possible. You can use local suppliers and craftsmen to make your products. Meaning that unlike your competitors, the things that you offer aren’t mass produced. (This appeals to a lot of consumers.)
As for your services – if you’re a service-based company, you can give them a more personal touch. It’s the little things like assigning each client one team member who they deal with at all times, that make the biggest difference. As a smaller business, you have the ability to take a more personal approach. Making the services that you offer, that little bit more appealing.
Offer the very best customer service.
When a consumer chooses a brand to buy a product or service from, they want to know that should they need it, there is adequate support available. As a small business, you may not have as many resources as your larger competitors, but that doesn’t matter. What consumers want is high-quality customer service – if you can provide that, you’re sure to be successful. The problem with a lot of larger brands is that they don’t look after their customers as well as they should. This is because they have enough customers not to have to worry about losing one or two. But what they fail to realize is that companies that provide inadequate customer service will become known for doing so.
To ensure that your brand shines when it comes to customer service, always aim to go above and beyond. Don’t just do what the client expects you to do, do more for them. If, for example, a client calls you with a problem, don’t put them on hold while you deal with it, tell them that you’ll call them back, and make sure to do so. Or, say, for instance, a client is unable to get your newspaper electronically because they don’t use the internet, send them one in the post. It’s the little things like this that make all the difference.
As for what you offer in terms of methods of contacting you, don’t just give clients a phone number to use. Instead, aim to have various ways that you can be contacted on offer. Ideally, you should aim to have a free number for your customers to call, as well as an online live chat option. It’s also a good idea to have an email address on offer.
Give out freebies.
Obviously, being a small business, you most probably have a budget that you need to stick to. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t reward your customers with freebies. It’s just a case of assigning a small amount of your budget to cover the cost, and then coming up with ideas for suitable gifts to give them.
The thing about freebies is that you not only want them to reward your customers, you also want them to advertise your brand in some way. This is why it’s important to think carefully about what you’re giving out. So that you can ensure that your freebies offer an effective method of advertising. They should be interesting and eye-catching, and things that people actually want.
When it comes to freebies, a lot of business owners think that pens make the best freebies. However, pens, while practical, are a little boring. Think outside of the box and come up with an idea that’s a little more interesting, such as custom stuffed animals, for instance. All the most successful businesses are the ones that are known for their unique ideas – look at Google, for example.
As we mentioned earlier, as a small business, you’re able to adapt. This means that you have the ability to be more accommodating to your client’s needs than larger businesses do. To beat your competitors, do whatever you can to accommodate the needs of your clients. By being flexible, you will beat your competitors and win their clients. The question is, what exactly should you be flexible on?
A lot of successful small businesses choose to be flexible when it comes to payment. This can mean offering customers various ways to pay, such as via chip and pin, Paypal, cheque, or cash. Or, it can mean setting up payment plans for customers who aren’t able to pay straight away. As long as this is something that you can afford to do, that is. If you are going to offer payment plans, make sure to have the terms in writing, to avoid problems from arising.
Another way that you could show your customers that you’re flexible is by accommodating them with your opening times. Say, for instance; you have a client who needs a meeting to discuss one of your services but doesn’t finish work until after you close. You should try and find a way to accommodate them. This could be by organizing a Skype meeting, or it could be by staying open later or opening earlier so that they are able to see you at a convenient time.
Offer a lot of deals.
One of the things that bigger companies do well is offering deals. Because they have larger budgets, they’re able to offer various deals and discounts throughout the year. So, if you’re going to outdo them, you need to offer lots of deals and discounts too. Obviously, if you’re on a budget, this may not be possible. However, take the time to look at your finances and see whether it’s doable to offer a few discounts and deals. Although you won’t earn as much through deals, you’ll show your customers that you appreciate them, and might even get some new clients too.
In terms of the type of deals and discounts that you should offer, that depends on the types of things your competitors offer. Take a look at the deals other local companies offer and get some ideas and inspiration. You want to ensure that what you’re offering is on par with what your competitors are offering.
As well as offering random deals and discounts throughout the year, perhaps you could have one day a week where you slash your prices? Or, perhaps on the last day of the month you could run a deal raffle where each of your subscribers gets sent a deal that’s personal to them? You can tailor the deals to what they tend to buy from you, offering them a good saving. The more creative you can get with the deals that you’re offering, the better.
As a small business, it can seem almost impossible to beat your larger, more experienced competitors, can it? However, it’s not impossible. In fact, outdoing your competitors is actually much easier than you would think. It’s just a case of being smart about how you go about it; that’s all.