Source: G7 Design Business Tips Blog
Business Tips - Vol. 1, Issue 5
One of the keys to success in business is being able to attain the edge over competitors. We’ve done our research, and have compiled a summary of elements you may be able to implement within your own firm towards achieving competitive advantage:
•Differentiation – In a situation where a potential customer/client has a choice between your firm and your competitor – why should they choose you? What can you do, that your competitors can’t? In every industry or market, there is a threshold of abilities a company should have, in order to fulfil a basic service or product, (for example G7 Design must be able to design and implement modern web solutions for its clients). To differentiate your offerings, and hence ensure that you stand out from competition, you must look at ways you can do more than other companies in your industry, and surpass the threshold. This may include innovation, such as to use methods other firms can’t use (or can’t afford to use), or even to include small extras with your products/services. If you can introduce a new working method or approach not widely used, ensure you include that as a feature of your product/service when advertising.
•Lower Costs – Typically used by larger organisations, cost leadership can be utilised to win customers over. In a similar situation as above where your customers have a choice between you and your competitor, if the product/service features are like-for-like, they will usually decide upon price. Nevertheless, it is advised that prices are only lowered when you can assure that demand is in place for your products/services, and of-course, that you can actually afford to pursue this strategy by lowering your own internal costs first. It is also recommended that a move in this direction is gradual.
•Keep Changing – It is very important to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in your market. Industries change almost constantly, with new working methods, techniques and technological applications. Commit some time each week to reading up on your industry through magazines, trade or online journals, which will invariably keep you informed on the latest developments within your industry. As such you will be in a position to employ the latest approaches used by market leaders.
•Review the Competition – Awareness of both local competitors and market-leading players will provide you with insight as to the operations of other firms offering the same products/services as you. For local companies, it is useful to review their portfolios, and analyse any ways they may be offering more than you, or better value. You may want to consider ways you can match or surpass this. For market leaders, there are of-course a number of reasons that they are the leaders – if there is a way you can mimic elements of their approach to business, it may be worth your time.
•Build a Loyal Customer Base – Loyalty is extremely valuable in business. By retaining customers, this will protect your position and hopefully prevent customers from buying your products/services from other firms. Furthermore, with a strong customer base, this can provide you with a sound foundation for reaching new clients. The obvious solutions to building a customer base are by offering discounts, and/or rigorous client relationship management.
•Survey Customers – Any time your customers are in contact with your company is an opportunity to survey them. Create a short list of questions to find out what is important to your customers, and once you have a substantial number of surveys completed, review the responses given to each question. This is one sure method of gleaning direct information on what exactly existing and potential customers are looking for, and it allows you to develop better customer orientation.