Let’s face it, new entrants into any business have their work cut out for them. They have to convince potential customers that their product or service offering is worth paying for. Also, they have to work to keep and grow their market share. At the heart of these daunting tasks is the essential task of keeping up with existing competitors. Entrepreneurs step into a world in which business survival is determined in part by customers with short attention spans. Attention spans stretched thin by the sheer number of products and services thrust in their face by a large number of other businesses.
The knowledge that there’s a ton of businesses vying for the attention of the customers you’re hoping to get could be discouraging. We won’t dispute that, but we believe this bit of knowledge to be an ally to every aspiring entrepreneur.
Here’s why: It has the potential to drive you to excellence. Athletes make a good example here. They train hard because they know that other athletes want the top prize too. This applies to entrepreneurs as well. Knowing what they’re up against, entrepreneurs can ‘train hard’ to build up a strong competitive advantage. So, how can you make the most of competition?
As an aspiring entrepreneur, studying existing competition should be able to inform your business model. Thankfully, at this stage, your business model is quite flexible and can be tweaked to accommodate changes pertaining to your target market or moves by competitors. You can adapt your business strategy to emphasize any advantage you might have over rival businesses. While studying your competition, try to answer the following questions:
- Can you sell your product or service at a lower price than your competitors without running aground?
- Can you run your business more efficiently than others?
- Can you offer better products or services?
- Is there a particular skill or expertise that sets you apart from existing players in the market you’re trying to get into?
- Can you offer better customer service?
If your answer to any one of these questions is ‘yes’, congratulations, you have an advantage!
Remember, you cannot answer any of these questions without studying potential rivals. Also, having a competitive advantage isn’t enough. There is the need to effectively communicate it to your target market. It is important that your marketing plan is designed to magnify whatever advantage you have over other competitors.
Finally, competitive advantage tend to fade with time. Our advice? Be on the lookout for changes in your playing field while sharpening your competitive edge.
You see? Competition was an ally after all.