Many people ask, “How do you deal with your competition as a small business owner?” Do you obsess over how they operate? Should you talk badly about them and persuade their clients to abandon them for you? Do you ignore them? In this article, we will discuss what to do about your competition as a business owner.
Do you obsess over your business competition and how they operate?
Absolutely not. You might be thinking that following everything another successful business is doing means you will have success, too right? Wrong. Your competitors are successful for a lot of different reasons, whether it be their level of customer service, their prices, their quality of work, etc.
You should never try to copy another business owner and their strategies because chances are, you won’t be successful. It is a good idea to carve out your own space in your industry and be your own person.
As a new business owner, your goal is to find a way to set yourself apart from your competition, so your prospects are more inclined to choose you over the bigger company.
For fans of The Office, remember how Dunder Mifflin regularly kept clients because of their dedication to customer service and being available for their clients day or night? All the other large paper chains treated their customers like numbers and Dunder Mifflin did not, which set them apart in a major industry.
Take that bit of advice, find what makes you different from everyone else in your field and get started growing your own business, not trying to copy someone else’s methods.
Do you talk badly about them and persuade their clients to abandon them for you?
Let’s just get this straight… you should NEVER talk badly about another business publicly. If you don’t like another business owner, yell at them to yourself in the shower but never bad mouth them in the public arena.
This always reflects poorly on you. It damages the trust relationship you have with your clients and is far from professional. If you want to establish yourself as a leader in your industry, be humble, recognize that someone out there is probably performing better than you and adjust your business plan accordingly.
As far as persuading another business’s clients to leave them and come to you, this is tricky. You should never just call up clients of a competitor, talk badly about your competitor and ask for their business.
If you want a client that one of your competitors has, it is okay to communicate with them. Call them and ask if their needs are being met or if they have considered working with a new company. If the answer is no, leave it alone. If the answer is yes, explain how you do things differently. Show them why you have a competitive advantage and you might gain a new client.
Should you ignore your business competition?
Ignoring them isn’t smart either. You don’t want to obsess over them, and you don’t want to publicly bad mouth them. However, watching how your competitors market, how they do business and how they deal with their customers can give you some valuable information.
As a web designer, I sometimes like to sit down and evaluate how the Noctem Media SEO is doing as opposed to other competitors in my area. I will take note of the services they offer and how diverse their portfolio is. Conducting market research is the only way we “deal with competitors.”
I use the information I learn about my competitors as a little tool in my mind. For example, a local SEO business in my area advertises SEO performance and page optimization but their website takes twenty seconds to load. I also ran speed tests and SEO audits on their customers to get more information. This just gives me an insight into what kind of value my competitors are offering and if I can offer something better.
For Noctem Media, I have decided to focus our business on performance, SEO, and page optimization because it seems like many of my competitors are not prioritizing this. This is the kind of good information you can get from watching your competitors. Learn more about our website design services and how they can help your business.
Notice how I didn’t try to copy anything my competitor was doing. I just took note of how they manage their site and used that as a bit of information for my marketing plan. No bad mouthing, no obsessing, just using my competitors to my advantage.
The competition is good. It is healthy for the overall business client and it gives you insights into what works for other people. Remember, don’t copy your competition. Use the information that you discover and market your product or service accordingly.
So, what do you do exactly?
At the end of the day, this is just advice and you get to choose how to go forward with your business and marketing efforts. But take this bit of advice… focus on the clients that you do have, deliver on the promises you make to your customers, and provide stellar customer service all the time.
Take care of your customers and they will take care of you. Don’t worry about beating out your business competition. Worry about maintaining the client relationships that you do have.
If you provide awesome customer service, meet your project deadlines and offer something that your competition doesn’t, you will see real growth. Your happy customers will tell their friends.
Dealing with business competition doesn’t have to be a pain. It can be done strategically and professionally.
Don’t obsess over how your business competition operates. Find something to set yourself apart and capitalize on that.
Never talk badly about your competition in public. It just makes you look unprofessional and untrustworthy. If you want to win over the clients of your competition, give them a call and assess whether their needs are being met. If they aren’t, explain how you do things differently.
Don’t flat out ignore your competition. Use the information you gather about them to improve how you do business. Use that information to set yourself apart.
The bottom line is, be professional, deliver on your promises, and provide awesome customer service and it won’t matter what your competition is doing.
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