ENTREPRENEURSHIP / OCT. 20, 2014
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How to Stay Aware of Your Competition

Businesses in today’s economic landscape already have a difficult time generating sales and staying afloat because of reluctant consumers, hesitant clients and the rising cost of operating a business. On top of that, other companies are performing a variety of feats to remain competitive and open.

In order to garner revenues and keep the bank book in the black, businesses must compete and be aware of their competition. Although some may question the ethics behind monitoring other companies in your industry, this has been a common method in the history of capitalism: Coca-Cola and Pepsi keep an eye on each other, McDonald’s and Burger King watch each other and Apple and Microsoft mimic each another.

The fact is that businesses need to be aware of their competition. This doesn’t require a significant budget, but entrepreneurs need to dedicate time and some of their resources to it. Remember, your competition is likely observing every step you take as well.

Here are five ways to stay aware of your business competition:

Social media

Small and large businesses alike are incorporating social media into their business model. By establishing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, companies can have inexpensive marketing techniques, while also keeping in touch with new and old customers. Both are recipes for higher sales volumes.

Social media can also be utilized to see what other businesses are doing. If you’re a restaurant, is the establishment a couple of blocks south of you offering weekly specials, discounts or online promotions? Why not take a glance over onto their Facebook page and find out. This is the simplest and most affordable way to monitor your competition.

Websites

Are customers pleased with the goods or services being provided by your competition? By venturing onto certain websites, such as Yelp or Rate My Employer, you can discover a plethora of information regarding the quality of the business and what patrons (and employees) think about the company. If your competition is failing in a specific area then take advantage of that and begin to expand upon that product or service.

Visitor

Tap a friend, family member or employee to visit your competition and see what it’s like inside, how the staff members do their jobs and what the quality of the product or service is like. Be sure the individual makes notes in their head, but also to act naturally and to appear as if they’re a customer like anyone else.

Feedback

Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. It’s important to gauge their opinions so ask for their feedback once in a while by filling in a brief five-question survey with an option to add any honest comments they wish to. This way you can develop upon your brand and see if they like something else the competition does that your business does not.

Be different

Sometimes it can be truly difficult to be different and successful at the same time. However, let’s say that you’re a generic retailer and there’s five other retail stores in a 10-block radius, ask yourself: how am I different than my competitors? Do you offer the exact same type of products? Are your prices pretty much the same?

Think about ways your business can be different than your competitors: hold weekly sales, add low-key music in the background, greet the customers, sponsor a social media contest and anything else that would be contrary to what other stores are doing. Standing out is imperative to higher achievement in the business world.

In today’s economy, it can be tough to compete and improve the bottom line. The best way to thrive is to be better than your competition because then consumers will have a better reason to enter your store or use your services instead of the others. Staying aware of the competition can be done efficiently and affordably.

How do you stay on top of your competition? Let us know in the comment section!

 

Photo by Osbornb via Flickr.

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