So, you’ve been working nonstop from 7am to midnight, 7 days a week, but you still can’t keep up with your competition never mind beat them.
The good news is you’re not alone.
What does it take to beat your competition? Is it passion, perseverance, a strong mind or a tendency to do what has never been done before? One can say a winner is a package of all these qualities. But winning must become a habit, a strategy, and a culture that is ingrained and becomes second nature.
Running a business is no different than running any other kind of organisation – an army, a political party or a sports team. The principles are the same. The object is to win – to beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds hard or cruel. I don’t think it is because it’s how a business survives.
Winning is all about delivering on a set agenda and not letting anything or anyone stop your growth.
Nigerian entrepreneurs understand this mentality, which is why Nigeria has rapidly evolved in to an African economic superpower. But, Nigeria still has a long way to go and has tremendous potential to shine as a leader on the global map.
Entrepreneurs in Nigeria have slowly developed a habit of bringing new and interesting solution based products to their customers, both locally and internationally. This has ensured that business opportunities in Nigeria will not slow down anytime soon.
This success combined with the opportunities available in Nigeria presents new challenges. One of the main challenges is competition both locally and nationally.
To overcome these challenges, startups in Nigeria must have faith, confidence and the required tools to build and offer services that are no less than perfect. This will enable Nigerian startups to outdo their business competitors because by challenging their own capability, they achieve the highest level of excellence in whatever they do.
The business world is a minefield, full of hazards that separate the men from the boys. Here, some have fallen and some have risen, but those sitting at the top have not reached there without a fight.
Read on to discover 5 simple tried and tested strategies that have been used by successful Nigerian and international entrepreneurs to beat their competition.
5 Simple Strategies to Beat Your Competition
1.Highlight Your Strengths and Hide Your weaknesses
A very effective strategy to beat your opponents is to promote your strong points and conceal your weaknesses.
This can be achieved through clever marketing of your brand, and you as a leader and an expert in your industry.
Well, no company is absolutely perfect, and some flaws can create a negative impact on your growth. But, with intelligent marketing your brand can stand out from your competitors.
This does not mean you should ignore your weaknesses, in fact, it is totally the opposite. You should work tirelessly to overcome your weaknesses, but don’t announce them to the world. But do announce your strengths!
2. Let Your Customers Beat Your Competitors
- Listen to what your customers (and their customers) are saying – be in touch. With modern technology this tactic is a lot easier than it ever was, so there are no excuses for not doing it. You can do this by using social media management tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer to conduct social listening, collecting feedback via your website, email/contact forms, surveys and customer interviews.
- Sell solutions – if you don’t have the technical ability or capital to match features with the competition, ask until you find your customers underlying need and meet it.
- Stay Customer Focused 100% of the time – sometimes, customers need to leave and come back to appreciate what you are offering. If you treat them with courtesy, answer their questions, and remain a source of valuable information, they’ll either come back or refer others to you.
- Offer Quality – Your business must appeal to the common masses with respect to quality and authenticity. If customers are left dissatisfied with the product’s value, they may lose interest in your brand. Therefore, try to beat the competition with goods of the highest quality, low prices and unparalleled customer service. Be flexible, uncompromising and try to tag the products in a way that makes them convenient choices for any budget.
The key to this is to value customers and to put yourself in their shoes. Would you choose your product or services over the competition?
“Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” ~ Damon Richards
3. Fully Understand Your USP and Battle on Your Turf
You always beat the richest competition by fully understanding your business, your unique selling point, and knowing exactly what you are offering. You are strongest when you are competing on your turf, and playing by your rules!
Google beat Yahoo and other search engines by focusing on “search rankings” – A revolutionary idea at the time. When Yahoo finally realized the value of search rankings it was too late.
The American retail giant Wal-Mart beat Kmart because of the simple strategy of opening stores on the outskirts of towns and cities. Kmart and all did not think it was viable.
Today, the two companies may seem like kings, but they were yesterday’s underdogs!
Are these service companies? Absolutely. They all had airtight feedback loops and listened closely to what their customers had to say.
Narrow your focus and broaden your search for niches. In addition to this you should focus on low cost effective marketing, customer service and feedback.
Think outside of the box. Do what your competitors won’t do, can’t do and they think won’t work.
4. Bust Your Ass and Outwork Your Competition
When Entrepreneur magazine asked billionaire technology entrepreneur Mark Cuban – “What’s key to being successful as a technology entrepreneur?” His answer was simple – “Busting your ass.” This quote doesn’t apply just the tech industry it applies to all industries.
It doesn’t always come down to how much money or connections you have. It’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone when it comes to your business. And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time.
“It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. You only have to be right once and then everyone can tell you that you are an overnight success.” – Mark Cuban
5. Analyse Your Numbers
If you are in a battle to beat your competitors, you will be operating on a tight budget and margins.
Knowing your businesses finances is critically important and they should be analysed and reviewed regularly. Losing sight of your figures can be catastrophic.
This task can be daunting for a small startup or one-man team who isn’t financially savvy. Try to recognize and understand the basics such as bottom line, gross margin, gross profit, fixed versus variable costs, leverage, burn rate, capital expenditure, concentration and break even.
Tracking such numbers and charting the future course of action accordingly can be highly profitable.
To stay ahead of your business competitors, you should also keep a close watch on their numbers too. Depending on what country you’re operating in this information can be obtained from a range of governmental departments.
We face competition in all aspects of our life. Competitors definitely make the journey difficult, but they also make us raise our game. Competition also ensures that customers receive the best value for their money. Competition is also an impetus of creative destruction, which drives product and process innovation mechanisms by which new production units replace outdated ones.