Business is a dog-eat-dog world. You’re not just trying to build your enterprise and bring in customers; you also have to keep a step ahead of your competition.

Other companies in the same sector will be trying to take your customers however they can. Perhaps they’re offering better service, lower prices or simply have a stronger web presence. Here are some pro tips that will help you beat your business competition.

1. Do Your Research

Researching rival companies in your sector is a crucial part of running your business. Most entrepreneurs do this before they even write their business plan. You need to know what rival companies are offering and aim to match or beat them.

Find out local prices and practices and apply them to your business. If the store down the road offers delivery, you should too. If another local restaurant provides customer loyalty cards, follow suit. Knowing your enemy is vital to make sure you offer more to buyers.

2. Offer Instant Customer Service

Fast customer support is crucial. A 2017 customer service report discovered that the most successful businesses offer quicker support for longer hours than their competitors.

You can deliver instant help to potential buyers via live help software, phone lines or social media like Twitter. If you fail to respond to queries as soon as possible, they’re likely to check out rival businesses.

3. Battle for Search Rankings

SEO is more vital than ever, especially when it comes to business competition. Other companies in your sector will likely be targeting similar keywords, so make sure to consistently optimize your SEO.

Targeting local keywords is often the best strategy for brick and mortar businesses. Recent figures showed that 78% of people look for local businesses through Google. For example, coffee shops in San Francisco should be battling to rank first for terms like “San Francisco coffee shop” and “Bay Area cafes.”

Every entrepreneur should educate themselves on SEO, but you may also want to hire a marketing expert to help you reach the top.

4. Get Customer Feedback

Collecting feedback from your buyers is a win-win.

Poor feedback can tell you where your business is going wrong and what you need to improve. Look at it as constructive criticism, revealing holes in your business plan that you need to mend immediately.

On the other hand, positive feedback will highlight your business strengths. You can work out what your customers like best about your business and integrate it into your brand identity. You may want to use Trustpilot to show off positive reviews to new potential customers.

Some businesses send feedback forms to customers via SurveyMonkey or Google Forms. You can ask people for ratings on specific factors on your business. It also helps to collect qualitative data in the form of answers to questions like “How can we improve?”

5. Out-Market the Competition

Marketing is essential to bring your business to people’s attention. But you don’t necessarily have to go all out.

While competing businesses might blow their budget on expensive ad placements, you can attract their customers by marketing smarter.

A lot of organic marketing methods such as content marketing and social media marketing can bring you organic views that can be converted into customers. Focus on your marketing and conversion strategy and consult with experts for help.

6. Use Statistics to Your Advantage

Businesses should collect all the data they can to identify patterns and improve based on their findings.

Many web hosting services these days have built-in analytics. If not, use software like Google Analytics to collect site data. You can see your highest performing pages, where you’re getting hits from, and how many people are visiting your site. It’ll help you improve your marketing strengths and shore up your weaknesses.

Sales data can also help. Perhaps you’re making the majority of your sales online and can cut back on your storefront budget. Every bit of data can help you optimize your operations for a competitive advantage.

7. Focus on Customer Loyalty

A lot of businesses use the vast majority of their budget on reaching out to new customers. Of course, this is essential to startups and small businesses just taking off. But once you start to make sales, it’s much more beneficial to focus on customer retention.

An Adobe marketing study revealed that 40% of e-commerce revenue comes from repeat customers. While new customers might only make one purchase, loyal buyers could be paying your business for years to come.

Improving your customer retention is crucial. Collecting feedback, offering fast service, and offering a generous refund policy can all help with this. You could also provide customer loyalty rewards or cards for loyalty points.

Even if a nearby business is cheaper or more popular, if you build trust with your customers they’ll stand by you. Make sure you give every one of your buyers the best experience possible.

8. Reinvest and Improve

Beating out your business competition often comes down to growth. That’s why reinvesting to improve your business is often the most effective strategy.

Many entrepreneurs recommend reinvesting at least 10% of your monthly profits into improving your company. Some business professionals even advocate reinvesting up to 50%.

How you spend this money largely depends on what your business needs. Are you getting too many customers to keep up with? Invest in talented new employees. Need more space? Buy another location or expand your current one. Are most of your sales a result of your marketing? Increase the marketing budget.

The more you put into your business, the more you will grow, and the more you will profit. It becomes a positive cycle of growth and improvement. If you make smart investments and see continued success, you’ll be better than your competitors in every aspect in no time.

Keep Ahead of Your Business Competition

These tried and true strategies will help you beat your business competition and stand out to customers. Remember to always focus on improving, growing, and satisfying your clientele. You should also pay close attention to all businesses in your sector, big and small. Maybe they’re doing something right, so learn from others to make your business the top dog.

About Victor Mitchell:

A serial entrepreneur, Victor Mitchell has successfully founded, acquired, and/or turned around numerous diverse business ventures over the past 30 years. His ventures include interests in finance, transportation, communications, technology, building supplies, real estate development and brokerage services.

Victor Mitchell is the founder and CEO of Lead Funding, a specialty lending organization that provides innovative private financing solutions for homebuilders and developers, reducing their red tape and speeding up loan decisions.

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