Allison Reid – Friday, December 28, 2012
Chances are you are heading into 2013 with even more competition than you had at the beginning of 2012. There’s direct competition from companies that offer the same products and services you do, and there’s indirect competition which are any alternative options available to your customers. Conventional wisdom says don’t focus on the competition, but instead, focus on your brand, offerings, and customers and you will be successful. Consider the following as you plan for a year of growth in 2013:
- Focus on your core competency. What do you do very well, better than others? Plan for growth around this strength
- Focus on your branding. Who are you in the minds of consumers? What do you stand for? Are you consistently branded in every encounter with consumers? Do all of your employees strive to reinforce this brand message?
- Define your message about what you do, and make it really clear in the minds of others why they should do business with you. Find different ways to deliver this message repeatedly so you are top of mind when someone realizes they need what you offer
- Decide on which platform you will compete. Is it the best service, highest quality, lowest prices? Providing the best service should always be something you strive for, but what other platform can you use to be number one? Besides service, what’s most important to your customers?
- Research your market. Stay on top of market data that’s relevant to your business. What’s happening in the general market environment? In your industry? With your competition? This knowledge is invaluable so you aren’t caught off guard and unprepared for developments that impact your business
- Research your customers. Look for ways to get their input on what they want from you. What do they like? What don’t they like? What matters the most to them? Use surveys. Call them. Offer an incentive for a little of their time. You may be surprised at their willingness to give you their feedback
If you are doing all of the above, you are already ahead of most of your competition. But here’s one last thing. Find ways to nurture your relationship with your customers. If you don’t have a database of customer data, build one. And use it to communicate with them regularly. The stronger the relationship between you and your customers, the less likely it is that they will to go to your competition.
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