You know what you want to do.
You’ve been dreaming about becoming the next big thing in the industry for years.
You have a product, a business plan, and you’ve secured funding — you’re ready and poised to make the leap and launch your business.
That’s great. But when it comes to hyper-competitive industries, you’ll need a plan to beat the competition, to build an enduring competitive advantage, right from the get-go. So how can you get ahead in such a fiercely competitive market? We have a few ideas.
Compete on Experience
One thing most competitive industries have in common? Competitive pricing. Businesses constantly slash prices in an attempt to undercut competitors.
The problem? Competing on price is a losing battle. A low price isn’t a lasting competitive advantage — anyone can come into the industry and offer a lower price. And at some point, you have to choose between winning on price and having healthy revenue. It’s far from an ideal situation.
A better one? Building a lasting competitive advantage that’s difficult for competitors to replicate. How? By creating an experience so wonderful for your customers that they’ll be willing to pay a little more. According to a survey done by CEI, 86% of consumers are willing to pay extra for a better experience. And with 80% looking to small businesses for better customer service, you’re at a big advantage here.
When you’re competing for a big market, it can be hard to narrow down a specific target, identify and meet their needs. No matter who your competitors are, there’s likely a smaller segment of the market that they serve really well. That means there are other segments that they don’t serve so well — that’s your opportunity.
Identify your niche, a smaller section of the market whose needs aren’t being a hundred percent met.
It’s impossible to please everyone. By narrowing in on a particular niche within the industry, you can better focus on meeting their needs — that means you can win in that segment. You can establish a deeper connection between your brand and your customers, which means a more engaged audience that’s receptive and ready to buy what you have to offer.
How to Do It
Finding a niche to serve doesn’t have to be painful, but it does require lots of research and a firm understanding of the industry as a whole.
Take a broad view of the market. Check out who your competitors are serving and how they’re doing it.
Find a segment that’s underserved. If one competitor takes care of enterprise businesses and another targets small business, who’s serving medium-sized businesses?
Identify and meet their needs. Research what this set of consumers needs. Talk to them. What about their needs is different from every other market segment?
Stay Up on Competitor’s Moves
The number one thing that can prevent you from getting ahead in a fierce market is not knowing what to expect from your competitors. The last thing you want is to be surprised by a competitor — it could cost your business customers and revenue. That’s why it’s crucial to stay on top of everything they’re doing.
Competing in a cutthroat industry isn’t just about getting ahead. You can’t just develop an advantage — you have to maintain it, too.
When you know what’s going on with competitors, you can react to new trends, find new ways to out-compete, and stay ahead of the competition. That’s how you build a lasting competitive advantage that keeps your business growing.
Invest in Talent
To have the best product, the best service, and the best marketing, you need one thing: the top talent in the industry. Your employees are an extension of you, and they represent the business as a whole. As your business grows, the team you build can have a huge impact on how successfully you can compete in the market.
Any industry where there’s a lot competition for customers is going to have a lot of competition for talent, too. That means you have to be willing to invest in attracting, training, and retaining skilled employees. Competitive salaries, great benefits & perks, and unparalleled office culture are key ingredients in a winning job offer.
When you get your salary and culture ducks in a row, you’ll be in a better position to compete for talented candidates — and in turn, to compete for market share.
How to Do It
Examine what you have to offer. Just like when you set about marketing a product, the first step to attracting top candidates is to consider what you have to offer. What’s unique about your business versus the rest of the industry? Some things to consider include: (1) perks and benefits, (2) opportunities for career growth, and (3) culture.
Find the top candidates. Scour LinkedIn, post your listing on your website and other job sites. Engage with candidates, try them out and let them try you out.
Make the offer and be open to negotiation. When you find the right person, make a great offer and be willing to work with them. Remember, they’re an investment in your business that will help you out-compete the other guys.
Business is competitive, but some industries are on a whole ‘nother level. If your business leads you into those shark-infested waters, it’s vital that you have a plan to survive and thrive in fiercely competitive markets — not just today, but for the months and years to come.
Get prepared now, reap the benefits later.