Your company is in competition with many other like-minded businesses, and you’re all fighting for the same reason – to survive and thrive. It’s the economy that has small studios and freelancers fighting against each other… just to survive.
How can you outwit the competition and rise above them to win the clients over?
There are so many tricks that will help you outsmart and outdo your competitors – putting attention on customer service, making use of search engines, etc. By employing any or all of the 15 tips, you can rise above the competition to become the best of the best.
Learn What Your Unique Selling Proposition Is
It’s imperative that you know what your USP is and, if you don’t have a clue what this is, you need to find out. What makes your business unique? How do you compete to the industry freelancers? Why should people choose you over your competitors?
Learn what your strengths and weaknesses are – ask clients, family, friends and others how they view you and your company. How reliable are you? Do you offer high-quality services? Choose at least two adjectives that convey your USP and stand by them. Make sure you express them on all channels.
Describe Your Brand
When you first begin or are re-branding yourself, you want to establish a great first impression. Review your competitors’ websites – how as they presenting themselves. What do you think about their logo and web designs? How approachable are they? Do they have a corporate feel to them?
Be sure seek the areas where you feel things could be better. Describe the brand while taking your USP into consideration. You want to express what your company stands behind. It’s not just about visual identity; it’s also about your writing’s language and tone.
Establish Yourself Within A Niche
If you notice the local market is far too competitive, establish yourself within a niche. You can find this by looking at your competitors – what kinds of services do they offer and what don’t they offer. Are they targeted certain areas? Can you specialize in something they’re overlooking?
Watch the market carefully – are there any trends or patterns to them?
For example, in 2007, a PR company specialized in digital communications at a time when blogging and social media were still relatively new. However, this company specialization benefited it significantly. The company was awarded a large contract because of its expertise. Most well-known agencies were unconvinced of the benefits that Facebook and Twitter could bring.
Go Ahead and Experiment
As a small business, you have the ability to be responsive – change things like you want without spending a lot of money or putting forth a lot of effort. This will let you experiment, trying new things that will best the competition.
For example, you may want to consider testing new branding methods. You could also change your website’s keywords. Remember, it’s good to change things – to see if you can see improvement.
There may be instances where you’ll make mistakes – changing something you shouldn’t and using something that didn’t work for you. Mistakes teach you valuable lessons and ensure that you follow the right path.
Constantly Learn Things About Your Business
When the work slows down, you don’t want to sit idly by and let the competition beat you. Stay on top of things by watching online training videos or downloading relevant PDFs. Get involved with things that will increase your skillset.
Have you wanted to learn about Photoshop but haven’t had time. Make use of the downtime to learn about the program. There are all kinds of learning materials that will provide you with an important skill set. If you feel an improved skill set will improve your business, you need to start learning about it.
Don’t rely on what used to work. There’s always room for improvement – something that will set you apart from the competition. Always have a notebook on hand because you never know when an idea will come to mind.
Know What The Right Prices Are
The biggest way you’ll best your competition is the price. Learn what your competition is charging, making sure to set competitive rates. Don’t offer your services too cheap, as low prices tend to bring in the wrong kind of clients. You don’t run a charity. You also don’t want to set too high of prices since you’ll be more expensive than the competition with a similar skillet as them.
If you’re just starting out, do some price testing. As you establish yourself, you can mess with the rates with future clients.
Find Ways To Reduce Your Costs and Save Yourself Money
Be sure you lean your business – cutting out the unnecessary bills and saving yourself some cash. When you run a lean business, you’re less likely to take on just any job that comes your way. You’ll put your attention on the higher-quality work – those tend to result in larger and better projects. And, these projects often result in a plethora of opportunities.
By doing this, you also don’t need to worry about the quiet times and offer competitive pricing that outdoes your competition.
Address The Business’ Weaknesses
It’s important your honest about your weaknesses. Do you despise talking on the phone? Are you really shy and would rather stick to the sidelines? Are deadlines the bane of your existence? Whatever weaknesses you have, you’ll need to work on improving them. Your competition will look for chinks in your armor. Don’t give them any to find and abuse.
Remember To Market Your Company
When a company faces tough times, they often reduce their marketing budget. However, this is something you should avoid doing. By focusing your efforts on marketing, you can reach out to your target audience when the competition is not doing any advertising. You want to make sure people still see your brand.
Make sure you market the business every day, even if you don’t know how to do it and need to learn how.
Offer Superior Customer Service
You want your clients – all clients – to be happy with your customer service. Your customer service will stop people from heading to the competition and spread the word about your business. Your company is establishing a reputation – every day – and it should be positive if you are to be successful.
Listen To What Customers Are Saying
There’s an old saying that goes, “You can’t please everyone.” Regardless of how much effort you put into something, bad things will happen. Listen to what your customers have to say and address the matter. Ask how you can improve your services to ensure they’re satisfied with the results.
For instance, if your client didn’t get printed materials in a timely manner, consider a quicker delivery timeframe. If they tell you they felt neglected, improve your communications. Mistakes will happen with your customers – the best thing you can do is learn from them and turn that negative instance into something positive.
Be Friends With Your Enemy
There’s another old saying to keep in mind, “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” This is also true of freelancers. Become friends with the competitors – to have allies in your corner. Sometimes, the competition may even assist you with work. It’s also good to have your cards close to your chest, but not all “friends” will be trustworthy.
Set Up A Customer Database
It can be very costly and problematic to attain the attention of new customers and persuade them they should employ you. Once you’ve done that, you should set up a customer database. This database will help you to retain the client. Stay in touch with your clients, forging relationships with them, so they’ll want to hire you once again.
Consider developing a newsletter to keep the lines of communication open. Mailchimp is one newsletter creation tool and will remind your clients/customers that you’re around when they need you.
Forgo Hard Selling and Pushy Sales Tactics
Potential clients are put off by the pushy sales tactics and hard selling many companies carry out. When you initially talk to a potential customer, you want to come across as helpful and confident. Avoid thinking something will happen when you’re nice. The best thing you can do is be who you are and be friendly. Many companies are aggressive in how they approach customers. Be different and avoid being aggressive.
Show Some Excitement To Get Others Excited Too
When a person is excited and passionate about something, it’s infectious. Therefore, you need to show your clients how excited you are, throwing a plethora amount of creativity into the work.
Clients feel a kinship with their business, so consider how you would feel if somebody outside your company was excited about it. When you’re full of life and have a positive outlook, you can best your competition. You’ll rise above the crowd.
As you can see, your business can be successful so long as you put forth the time and effort that comes with running a company. If you’re tired of playing second fiddle to your competition, use any or all of the tips listed below to help you best the competition.