When you first decided to start your startup, unless you had a completely new business idea and a unique value proposition that you were introducing to the market, then you were fully aware that you weren’t going to operate a monopolistic business.
You probably had a business strategy that would enable your business to offer its products and services to the general public and acquire a percentage of the market share.
As a business owner, you only hope that your business has been set up the right way and is capable of competing with established market giants in the business industry of your selection.
Nonetheless, with the prevalence of technology, consumers are constantly searching for products and service offerings that are affordable.
It doesn’t matter the size of the business, whether it is a startup, medium-sized business, or a large corporation. Customers will always leverage the use of technology to search for companies that have the cheapest products.
So, what does this mean for you, if you have a small business? Well, it means that you have to structure your business in such a manner that provides products and services that prospective customers can’t resist and are compelled to buy.
You will have to come up with a unique value proposition and rebranded your business in order to show potential customers that your business’s offerings are different from those currently in the market.
If you are thinking about only making adjusting your prices, then you are gravely mistaken. You will have to strive to gain a competitive edge for your business. A business that possesses a competitive edge has a greater chance of surviving in the marketplace for longer.
Thus, it can be said that a business is sustainable if it can compete with other competitors in the market place and still be capable of coming out on top.
Put yourself in the shoes of a customer for a second. Even if you own a business, you still need to restock and purchase household goods or personal effects for yourself from time to time.
How many times have you made repeat purchases of a product from a specific company? Presumably, the answer to that question would be many times.
The reason why you always find yourself making the same purchase from the same brand over and over again is for a specific reason, which could probably be related to the qualities associated with owning a product from that particular brand.
For instance, you may purchase a specific brand of sneakers for the simple reason that it is associated with a specific class of people in society.
It is the same thing when it comes to your company; you need to get into the minds of your clients and customers in such a way that they would rather purchase your product as opposed to seeking out alternative product options from your competitors.
This write-up is for entrepreneurs and startup business owners that have a small business and are seeking to remain sustainable in the long run by having a competitive edge. Here are eight actionable tips for a competitive edge:
1. Charge More for Your Product and Service Offerings
This may seem counterintuitive since we earlier mentioned that customers constantly search for more affordable products and services.
Nevertheless, if your business specializes in high-end products, for instance, luxury watches, then pricing your watches a little bit higher will allow your products to benefit from “prestige pricing.”
When you set a high product price for your products, it not only helps to increase your profit margins, but it will also help boost the brand image of your business and appeal to the customers who are looking to stand out by owning luxury products.
However, when you embark on this type of competitive edge strategy, you need to be able to account for the high pricing of your products and service offerings.
2. Aspire to Be an Online Influencer
‘Influencer’ is a vague term that is being thrown around more and more as social media becomes more influential.
Nonetheless, once you have a thorough understanding of influencing, you can leverage it for your business to help it gain a competitive edge. If your business hasn’t set up a digital footprint in this day and age, or rather if you are utilizing traditional marketing techniques as opposed to digital marketing methods, then you need to transition your business into the digital space.
Specialist agencies can help businesses interact with influencers, helping them collaborate with the most suitable talent for the target audience.
Should your company experience a capital squeeze, you can explore some funding options like SBA express loans from various lenders.
If you want to create awareness of your brand, then you need to champion your brand on various social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
By doing so, your company will gain respect from customers as you will be providing solutions to their problems.
3. Actively Seek Speaking Opportunities at Events In Your Niche
As a business owner, you should aspire to speak at industry trade shows, corporate events, and conferences because it has a significant impact on the brand authority of your small business.
Speaking at corporate events can positively contribute to your business’ public image.
If your business has a website that has a press-release section, potential customers who are eager to find out more information about your product and service offerings can be engaged with, with a view to moving them down your purchasing funnel.
4. Capitalize on New Technology Trends
If you want your business to be sustainable and remain competitive in the long run, then as a business owner you should prioritize implementing technology into your business operations.
Technology is important if you are looking to boost the productivity of your business operations, and it can also help eradicate inefficiencies in your production processes as human errors are lessened.
It also grants your employees the chance to focus their efforts and time on fulfilling the business’ core competencies.
A good example of including technology into your business is by including a live chat agent on your website, so as to help provide prompt replies to customers who have inquiries regarding your business’ products and services.
Having such technology in your repertoire can compel potential customers to shop at your website as opposed to your competitors’ platform.
5. Enchant Your Customer Base
When you have an established customer base or clientele, taking the time to appreciate your customers can come in handy when it comes to providing your startup business with a competitive edge against your competitors.
You may not be aware of this fact, but customers appreciate companies that value them and acknowledge their presence.
You can send out emails to your customers with appreciative messages or you can also tailor your messages to acknowledge your customers’ assistance in helping your business attain new milestones.
6. Generate Your Own Market Data
If you want to establish your business as a credible source of authority in your industry and aid your business to gain a competitive edge over your competitors, then you should leverage the use of Google Consumer Surveys to help gather and present consumer data results on your website.
Reaching out to major media websites or industry websites focused on your industry niche and requesting them to help upload your content can aid in spreading information about your brand.
7. Focus on One Niche to Gain a Competitive Edge
Don’t try to focus on offering a wide range of products and services in a bid to try and appeal to a larger mass of customers, as it tends to have a contradictory effect on your business’ sales margin.
Your business stands a better chance of converting potential leads into actual customers if it focuses on offering the target market a specific set of goods and services.
Being a ‘jack of all trades’ can present the picture that your business doesn’t have a good understanding of the target market in which it is operating, and is rather relying on luck to try and make random sales of disparate products.
8. Create an Admirable Office Culture
No customer wants to purchase goods and services from a business that has built itself up based on mistreating and taking advantage of its employees.
As an entrepreneur running and operating a business, you need to understand that there are internal customers (workers) and external customers (end customers who purchase your company’s services and goods).
When you create an office culture that acknowledges the efforts of its employees, it influences the brand image of your brand in a positive light.
A positive image bestows perks, as customers would want to associate themselves with brands that treat their employees as human beings rather than robots.
Another beneficial impact of having a cordial and friendly business culture is that various labor bodies will tend to recognize your startup business as a great employer.
This results in your company attracting and hiring talented and skilled employees, who then help your business boost its competitive advantage.
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I am Adeyemi Adetilewa, a media consultant, entrepreneur, husband, and father. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ideas Plus Business Magazine, online business resources for entrepreneurs. I help brands share unique and impactful stories through the use of public relations, advertising, and online marketing. My work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Hackernoon, The Good Men Project, and other publications.