15 examples of beating competitors – creating a bespoke competitive strategy
Time for a hard truth: you need to be better in at least three aspects if you want to start beating your competitors and you will need to have a very good competitive strategy in place. The good news is if you’re a small business you’re likely to be more adaptable, you’re already better than big brands in dozens of ways, and you’ve got more punches to pack than Muhammad Ali circa 1974.
But let’s get something straight right now: being cheaper may not be enough to start beating competitors. All too often, we see business owners at their absolute wits’ end because a rival is undercutting them on price, and they can’t keep up. Trying to compete on cost is a race to the bottom – you squeeze your margins so paper-thin you’re left with nothing. If you can compete on price, brilliant. If you can’t, get on top with any combination of these tips and create your own competitive strategy:
1. Better quality/longer-lasting
A great one to beat competitors, because it makes a higher price justified. Plus, your smallness means you can put in that extra bit of TLC that really makes a better-quality service shine.
2. Easier to use
Just keep it simple, all right? If a customer can figure out how to use your superfast valuation tool in two seconds rather than two hours, you’ve got the edge and you are on the ball with competitive strategy.
3. More efficient
Does your team get more done than its rivals? Are they quicker? These days it’s an incredibly powerful sales tool.
4. Approved by a respected organisation
This holds similar kudos to celebrity endorsement, albeit probably with a different crowd. Jump through the hoops of a trade or standards organisation and then stick their approval seal on every bit of marketing material you’ve got. Think the Guild of professional estate agents or the Property Academy?
Your service – the key to improving competitive strategy
5. Better customer service
This is such an easy one – and it’s free. Be polite, build relationships with your customers and respond to complaints quickly and calmly. It’s that simple. But it’s something big companies find impossible to do well. With one more smile than the big ones, you can start beating your competitors. Instruct a customer care company to look after your customers while you focus on beating your competition such as BoomerangCRM!
6. More favourable opening hours
Whether you go 24/7 or just open Sundays when your rivals are shut, making a customer’s life more convenient and shaping your business around their lifestyle is guaranteed to bring them through the doors, and this is a vital part of building competitive strategy.
7. Your website is more efficient/reliable/quicker/simpler
I can’t say it enough: websites are key these days. Get a good one, and you look professional and encourage people to get on there all the time.
8. Offer freebies that competitors don’t
This can be something as simple – but as utterly charming – as offering customers a cup of tea. It really does make all the difference in beating competitors.
9. Being UK-wide or international
A broader reach will win you more customers and give you an edge over those who only deliver down the road. It takes a lot of organisation and careful management but can work wonders. Think about joining networks such as the Fine & Country or the Land and New Homes network!
10. Employees’ expertise or demeanour
The best salespeople are those who know their subject matter inside-out. As a small business, you can nail this one, because you’re most likely to employ people with a good dose of passion for what you’re doing. Use it: train staff to know your product and be happy to explain it in-depth and make recommendations. Think of the service you get in independent wine shop for inspiration.
11. No frills deals
Some people like it straight-up. Take a leaf out of Ryanair’s book, or just strip down your premises and packaging to their bare minimum to appeal to time-poor, fuss-free individuals.
12. Loads of frills deals
Of course, for every minimalist, there is a, um, maximist. Chuck in lots of complimentary bits-and-bobs, pamper your customers and make packaging nice and attractive.
13. Better located
That can mean nearer public transport, or with parking facilities, right through to having a beautiful view. Or simply being the first of your kind in an area. Location, location, location applies just as much to commercial premises as private property.
14. More pleasant premises
Make your premises memorable and beautiful, and customers will want to come back.
15. Being charitable
Put in an hour or two a week at your local old people’s home, donate 5% of your profits to charity, sponsor the local kids’ football team – anything along these lines, modestly publicised, will win customers’ hearts. A great example of this is Nicol & Co estate agents based in Worcester & Droitwich Spa, who are currently fundraising by doing the Three Peaks and raising money for Midlands Air Ambulance – you can check out their fundraising page here
Think about it, no one checks into a hotel and asks the concierge, “What’s the second-best Chinese restaurant nearby.” Seth Godin argues that buyers always want the best in the world. Though he admits that “the best” depends on what the target segment wants (e.g., chinese food), and that “the world” may be restricted (e.g., to Chinese restaurants within a certain distance of the hotel). Godin argues that to be successful, a person or company must define the “world” it will be best in, and what it means by “best.” And then, crucially, to not fall short.