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6 Effective Ways to Beat Competition in Small Business

August 05, 2022

8 minread

byAutumn Joyce

Autumn Joyce
Autumn Joyce

CEO, Co-Founder

Chicago, IL

Autumn knows first-hand the hard work, commitment, and determination it takes to build and grow a business. As a top-producing business advisor, she helps her clients identify obstacles by developing smart and actionable business strategies, preparing for challenges, and helping them avoid the pitfalls small business owners face in growth. She specializes in entrepreneurial mentorship, talent recruitment, consumer behavior, and systems development.

Competition is everywhere, but dealing with competition for small businesses is even more important in your overall success. How can you stand out amongst your biggest competitors who offer similar services to a similar audience? If you want to increase profits for your small business, you’ve come to the right place as our experts are ready and willing to help. Let’s explore some effective tactics to help you overcome your competitors.

Define Your Business’s Core Expertise

Before you know how to outperform your competitors, you need to take a step back and fully understand the core competencies of your small business. One way to do this is by establishing your “three uniques”, what are three things that you can simultaneously say about your brand that others cannot?

For example, in the case of Southwest Airlines, the three uniques are that you can choose your seat, you can check two bags for free, and you’ll get to interact with a funny and friendly crew. Your three uniques can lead your small business in the right direction and improve how you position yourselves in the marketplace.

Identify Your Competitors

How to beat a competitor in business starts with looking at those who offer the same value, price, and service that you do. Let’s say you’re a small coffee shop that donates a certain percentage of your sales back to the community. When you’re identifying your competitors, you wouldn’t think of Starbucks as competition as they are an international chain that offers convenience and reliability as their unique selling point. Instead, you should consider other small, local coffee shops as your competition as they are offering the same product and service at a similar price point.

Conduct Competitor Analysis and Find Your Competitive Advantage

how to deal with competition small business

Another way to eliminate competition in business is to conduct a competitor analysis. There are many ways to do so and one of the most popular is to conduct a SWOT analysis. When identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, make sure to get as many different viewpoints as possible.

Consider polling stakeholders, clients, leadership members, hourly employees, etc. to get an accurate cross-section of people in your organization. Another approach to competitive analysis is by secret shopping your competitors and checking them out online. How are people reviewing their experience with your competition?

Provide Better Service or Product by Solving Real Customer Problems

Being incredibly customer-centric is extremely important in how to deal with competition as a small business.

Start by dissecting the existing customer journey for your company. In many cases, it starts with a discovery phase where the customer is getting to know you and your brand.

Next comes the learning phase where customers are able to interact with your brand and “try it on” to see if it’s a good fit for their unique needs.

Then comes the transaction phase where they commit to your product or service.

Finally, the follow-up process ensues where you can collect feedback and help your customers feel secure in their decision. In each aspect of the customer journey, dissect all parts of what’s happening. If you’re intentional, you can unveil information that starts to differentiate you from the crowd.

Provide Excellent Customer Service

Providing excellent customer service isn’t only about customer service, but it also extends into the customer experience and the customer journey. Think of your small business beyond offering a product or a service, rather, what emotions do your customers feel when they are interacting with your brand or your team?

In many scenarios, people return for a feeling and an emotion, especially in small businesses. It doesn’t matter if you’re a painting business or an auto body shop, it’s about the emotion, feeling, and a journey that the customer goes through when they’re shopping with you or learning more about your offerings.

Start Smart Hiring

how to beat a competitor in business

Attracting and retaining great talent is an underrated portion of overcoming your competitors. So many small businesses solely focus on guidelines, structures, and processes without considering how to attract the best talent who can help build a memorable customer experience.

Your employees will play a direct role in the perception of your business. For example, do you have a compensation structure that’s truly unique and attractive compared to your competitors? What is your recruitment and interview process like? Make sure to hire people who believe in curating the vision and journey on which your company is built. By putting time and effort into building the right team, you help your small business stand out and make a lasting impression.

Good Competition Is Healthy

If you have no one to compete against, your business might become complacent. Small business owners shouldn’t be scared of competition, they should embrace it and understand that it’s part of the territory. Even though you might think that your competition is threatening your small business, in many cases, there’s nothing wrong with some friendly competition.

It helps to keep you in the know and pushes you to be at the top of your game to make you even better. Good competition is also a source of good talent; if you’re able to attract the right people to your team, it means that your competition won’t have access to these employees. The group that benefits the most from the healthy small business competition is your consumers.

Final Thoughts

Competition is everywhere and it’s not going away any time soon. Rather than shying away from it, you should learn the tactics to help you address your competitors and overcome them over time. If you’re interested in learning more about how our team at Cultivate Advisors can help, take advantage of our free advising session today.

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