The internet is swamped with struggling and endeavoring life of entrepreneurs and how did they toil themselves to establish a multi-billion company from nothing. Positioning a company as a win-win brand for customers is one of the dreams most entrepreneurs share. Creating a competitive strategy is key to grow your business. While every new and old business has readied themselves for the stiff head-to-head ever since they have gained entrance in the business world, it is important to remember that it is not the fastest who wins the race but the wisest. Outshining competition could be daunting but not impossible. Conveying a competitive advantage to the potential investors is challenging. It does not matter whatever type of business you are in, the market is absolutely overwhelmed with the competitors.
There are many tactics, approaches, and risks that one needs to take on his shoulders while being in a competitive business. Who does not want to stand out of the crowd? Which business wants to hold back and let competitors gain an advantage over it? No one! Every business toil themselves to outrun competitors with a heavy margin but overshadowing competitors is not a matter of one day or two. It takes months and years of diligence to bring your competitors on their knees. And adding more to the information, small businesses have always longed to speedily outshine their competitors and constantly struggled with the concept of coming out better than the competition.
What Is Competitive Strategy?
Everyone starts a business with many prospects in mind but the ultimate goal is to dominate your rivals which could be a little longer path to travel. Before entering into the competitive combat world, the businesses need to achieve more clarity on their competitors which means you need to know everything about your competition in and out.
What products and services they mainly deal with, how their customer experience is, and most importantly finding a gap where you can fit yourself in is what competitive strategy is all about. Having out-and-out knowledge about competitors can be fruitful to position yourself in the market. In today’s article, we will be discussing the competitive strategies for small businesses and how these strategies can help them gain a competitive advantage over competitors.
Competitive Strategy 1 – Identify Your Competitors
Competitive analysis is said to be the backbone of any marketing strategy. It is the process of conducting market research on all those industries who are in a similar business like yours and evaluating every single action of theirs including strengths and weaknesses. You might be thinking that running a competitive analysis could be a hell of a task as the internet is a big space and scouting prospective competitors based on keyword research would be like finding a needle in a haystack. There are many successful competitive strategy examples that describe the evolution of the corporate world. So this gives you an opportunity to understand what they did good and how you can employ the tactics in a more improved way.
But what if I tell you to narrow down your search from the widely split market. In fact, many companies nowadays are using a competitive analysis framework to get hold of potential competitors such as SWOT analysis, Porter’s Five Forces, and so on. However, that could be an enduring task for small businesses. Therefore, to help them reduce the stress of finding the most possible competitors in the industry, we are providing a few effective techniques.
Recognize the Difference Between Direct and Indirect Competitors
Do you know that every business has two types of competitors in the market? It might sound agitating to some but it’s true. Every business is girded with direct and indirect competitors. While many companies brace themselves to compete against the competitors without understanding their competition, the ideal strategy to get ahead in business would be to know both of them beyond a doubt.
- Direct Competitors – Direct competitors are those companies who sell their products or services to the specific market you are competing in. That means they are doing something very similar to that you do and targeting the same audience as yours. For instance, Amazon is a direct competition for Walmart as they both are e-commerce retailers.
- Indirect Competitors – Indirect competitors, on the other hand, are companies that do not affect your competition directly, but they target a certain section of the market you compete in. For instance, eBay is the indirect competitor of Walmart. While eBay is an American multinational e-commerce website that is best known for its B2C and C2C sales, Walmart operates a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores. They both are akin yet unlike.
Understand Competitors and Their Strategy Through Effective Analysis
Now you know that you have two types of competitors in the industry. Single both of them out by running an effective analysis. Explore through the market for your product and services and evaluate which companies are selling similar products and services that would be your direct or indirect competition. To get a deep overview of your competitors and their activity, one can get in touch with their sales team and understand how many of them often come up in their sales process.
Understanding the competition is a crucial business activity for any enterprise or an individual. While conducting competitive market research, it is advisable to keep a track of all your competitors separately which will help you out to know what considerable measures you can take to outshine both the types in the field. Competitive research helps businesses to forecast the potential market and further aid in getting aware of significant strategies they are implementing which eventually strikes you with an idea of employing the same for better targeting customers.
Competitive Strategy 2 – Examine the Market of Potential Business
Brand image is what increases your sales growth, popularises your business to the masses, and with a heavy brand image, you can outshine your competitors so easily. All in all, the image of a brand is everything. In order to analyze the market positioning of a company, one should have a look at how able the brand is with consumer perception influence. When your target customers have reason to buy your products and services over another potential competitor of yours, it indicates that your brand positioning is guided and notable. An ideal brand positioning should be significant and encouraging to the niche market. The positioning of the brand demands a distinctive place in the market. In simple terms, your brand position shows what you promise to customers and how you fulfill it.
Evaluation of brand building and positioning requires synchronized efforts that help in creating a perception in the marketplace that drives your business ahead. The primary objective of the business who has secured its market position could be associated with the product attributes and benefits. The businesses are using different aspects of positioning strategies in which conceptual mapping is more prevalent. A perceptual map, also known as theoretical mapping, is a technique that is used to show consumer perception of certain brands. This map enables businesses to identify how competitors are positioned relative to their business and to realize opportunities in the marketplace.
Creating a strong brand positioning in the market is important. Have you ever paid heed to market copies of the brand? The message they interpret on their website says a lot about their position in the market. Most of the companies condense their value proposition into a single sentence, mainly in the headline of the homepage. The brands believe that the landing page is a selling page. A good landing page has a single conversion goal, USPs of the product or services the company offers, and how users will be benefited. A mere visit to the website can help a business know every minor detail of their competitor. It will then get easier to determine whether the website you are running a comprehensive analysis on is an ordinary or gigantic competitor of yours.
Market Positioning – The Pillar of Competitive Advantage
We just took a quick peek into what brand positioning is and what it adds as an advantage to your business image. Now we are going to see how it becomes the driving force of an enterprise and manifest the specialty of business in front of the audience. Brand positioning is said to be setting businesses apart from their competition. Let’s understand how does this happens?
Creates Market Disparity
Presenting a web copy on your website which is more vivid and personal makes your brand notable among customers. The competition with the advertisement has gone fierce. With many similar products available on many different platforms, the reason why people will choose your brand is the position you hold in the market.
Communicates Value to the Customers
Communicating and establishing value to your customer is important for a business as it results in high-value referrals and references as well. Value could be anything. It might be the quality of the products and services you are offering to the customers or delivering everything that your customers aspire. Whatever you have done or still doing to turn your once in a blue moon customer into a prospective one is because of the value you have established with them.
Make Brands Go Viral Among the Target Audience
A righteous market position enables the business to reach out to the wider and target audience. Every business seeks the opportunity to speak out to the right crowd. The correct positioning increases the business value to prospect groups and makes it easy for enterprises to segregate their meaningful audience to potential subgroups.
Give Grounds for Pricing Strategies
Products and services at times require price justification. Brand positioning supports businesses to classify their price point in contrast to the competition. Mapping out a sustainable price strategy differentiates the business from their own potential competitors and make it more reasonable for the customer to know how your business is more convenient.
Competitive Strategy 3 – 3cs of Staying Abreast of Competitors
3C is an essential framework on which the whole business model relies upon. This concept of marketing strategy focuses on the dynamic and significant relationship between customer, company, and competitors. These are also known as three semi-fixed environmental factors in the market which helps businesses to gain a competitive edge.
The Customer – The customers are the invincible lord of any business. They act as a decision-maker of a company’s success or failure. Nurturing a strong relationship with your customer is important. A powerful relationship with your customers can benefit businesses in many ways. Loyal customers and rocketed sales are a few customary values, companies strive to establish a fruitful venture.
The Company – Knowing customers and capturing their requirements is not the only thing that needs to be taken care of. There are many other aspects such as providing a valuable product to potential buyers, investigating different business strategies to stand out of the crowd is what the basic responsibility of companies are. This can lead them to gain a competitive advantage over competitors.
The Competitor – Winning customers is one thing and making them stay true to your product and services is another. Customers are always open up with the option to turn to another company if they do not find you suitable enough. This is why staying abreast of your competitors is more important than anything which can only be possible if you have true knowledge and a database of all your competitors which helps to run an analysis easily.
How Small Businesses Can Gain Competitive Advantage?
Do you really want to go mano-a-mano with your competitors? Are you striving to get more customers and build brand loyalty? In today’s hyper-competitive market, every business yearns to establish their position and for that, they are even ready to get into a state of war to gain a competitive advantage over their competition.
According to Hubspot, more than 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing and around 24% of marketers plan on increasing their investment in content marketing in the year 2020. Why are companies making and devising so many strategies? In a world that is full of competition, they are endeavoring to win over new customers by upselling old ones along. And all this is because they want to stay abreast of their competition. A competitive advantage is a difficult strategy to put in but not impossible. Here are some major maneuverings the companies should be formulating to gain an advantage over their competition.
- Have a Good Marketing Mix for Your Business
The marketing mix is the “mix of multiple components of your company’s offering” in the market which could be the experimented approach of attaining higher sales or retaining the loyal base of customers. A marketing mix is an essential tool in building and implementing an effective marketing strategy for the business and achieving an edge over competitors. Most of the companies believe in building and planning a long-term strategy to accomplish the business objectives. Marketing is the amalgamation of 4Ps which are Products, Price, Promotion, and Place. The proposed action plan of business marketing relies on these four pillars.
- Look for the Customers in Niches Which Have Lost Their Bearings
In a huge marketplace where numerous companies are operating with unlimited products and services to reel the customers in and make them choose their brand over others, niche-specific marketing could be tough. To be number one in the business, you have to act like a vulture. A business vulture that zeroes in on its competitor and preys on their strategies. There are niches such as e-commerce, SaaS, travel, and tourism where it is easier to find customers. These are the most general categories where the competition is sky high and it sometimes gets tough to gain an advantage over. But have you tried narrowing down the niche? What if you can find the customer base who have been under-serviced. That would be something riveting to get ahead of your competition. Explore the unexplored.
- Establish Your Unique Value Proposition
Finding potential value propositions and marketing it as your USP is the most common affair businesses take up to gain competitive advantage. It also works as the most significant conversion factor. But how should you write your Unique Value Proposition which can entice customers’ attention and outperform? Seek to employ out of the box strategies. Ask questions to yourself. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes and come up with something exciting and unique. Everyone is selling the same products and services but has a different approach. Find that one approach that reflects in your writing as well. Why will customers be selecting your services over others unless you provide them with reasons? Offer them something extra and out of the ordinary.
- Achieve the Lowest Cost Position in the Industry
Before achieving a competitive advantage, industries should focus on attaining cost leadership. So before you get confused by the jargon and seem unclear about this cost leadership mechanism, let me help you understand what it is. So it is the strategy of establishing a competitive advantage by having the lowest cost of operation in the industry. That means in this technique, the companies focus on becoming the lowest cost producer in comparison to the competitors. Though this praxis is proven to be beneficial mostly for large enterprises, even small industries can employ by taking care of some effective measures.
In this competitive world where everyone is making efforts to keep their competitive edge, a close eye on competitors would cut down your efforts of gaining a business advantage over them to half. Moreover, instead of just probing over the competitor’s weaknesses, devote operations to make your own strategy stronger than anyone in the market. It would help you to appear relevant to your customers and the multitude of loyal customers is what all businesses venture.
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