Ten Ways to Stay Competitive in a Crowded Marketplace

Review: Ten Ways to Stay Competitive in a Crowded Marketplace #business #blog #businessstrategy @collin_harbour

As a small business or even a solopreneur, competition can be fierce and staying ahead can be challenging, particularly if there is no strategy in place as a road map. However, with the right strategies, you can do more than just survive.  Indeed, the right strategy or strategies can help you can thrive in a crowded market. Here are some tips to help you stay competitive.

  1. Know Your Target Market
    • This may seem like a simple item.  But understanding your target market is crucial to success. Identify your ideal “customer” or “client”, their needs and wants, and how your product or service can meet those needs. Understanding your target market allows you to tailor your offerings and marketing efforts to potential clients.
  2. Offer Unique Products or Services
    • This may be a little trickier, particularly if creativity is not your strong suit.  Even so, offering unique services or products can help set you apart from competitors. This could be a new product or unique service.  Even better, a unique approach to a service or how customers will be handled are good places to start.   By standing out with something unique, you can attract customers who are looking for something different.
  3. Stay Up to Date with Industry Trends
    • This is easier said than done, primarily because there are only so many hours in the day.  You can:
      • Listen to Industry Specific Podcasts
      • Read Industry Specific Blogs
      • Attend Conferences and Trade Shows
      • Research and Post to Social Media Platforms regularly
    • By doing any combination of these items, you can stay informed about the latest industry trends and incorporate them into your business strategy. It can also help you identify specific needs and focus in on what your potential clients are looking for in a partner.
  4. Leverage Technology
    • It feels like we are in the “Golden Age” of technology that can be used for small businesses and solopreneurs to thrive!  Yes, there will be future enhancements, but with just a small amount of time invested, you can discover a combination of applications and tools to supplement a business.  The right combination can give small businesses a competitive edge. Invest in tools and systems that help streamline your operations, improve efficiency, and increase productivity. This can help you save time, reduce costs, and, most importantly, increase profits. I use Lately, Canva, and Quickbooks, and Pipedrive. Frankly, these are just the tip of the iceberg when discussing technology.
  5. Develop Strong Relationships with Customers
    • Building strong relationships with clients is essential for success. As Maya Angelou says, “At the end of the day, people won’t remember what you said or did, but they will remember how you made them feel.”  This requires effort, but you must offer way above-par client/customer service and respond to inquiries and concerns.  As discussed below in the “Social Media” section, don’t forget to engage with your customers and prospects on social media.  All these items will contribute to increased customer loyalty and attract new customers through word-of-mouth referrals.
  6. Offer Competitive Prices
    • Your pricing strategy will help attract and retain customers. If procuring a market analysis is too expensive, consider conducting your own market analysis to see what your competitors are charging.  You may find that you will need to adjust your prices (up or down) to match the market.  When analyzing, don’t equivocate low prices to low quality (or the other way around).  A balanced approach focusing on both quality and value will be key to success.
  7. Stay Active on Social Media
    • Social Media is one of the easiest and most powerful tools for small businesses and solopreneurs.  Stay active on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, based on your specific products(s) or service(s).  Use the platforms to build your brand in the marketplace. Make sure to also use the platforms to interact with customers and others in your industry.  News, promotions and other articles should be posted regularly. 
  8. Collaborate with Other Businesses
    • When possible, collaborate with others.  Collaboration is key to reaching new customers and increasing your exposure. Consider partnering with complementary businesses to offer services and productions.  Joint promotions can be key in reaching new potential clients and expanding your brand in the marketplace.  Co-sponsor a booth at an industry trade show or co-author a piece in an industry trade journal.  With social media, the promotion of such collaborative efforts can be spread to a wider audience.   
  9. Focus on Quality
    • Almost nothing outranks quality as a driver of differentiation, and it should always be a top priority. Meeting client expectations will go a long way toward keeping existing clients and finding new clients.  Ultimately, high-quality services and/or products will be a reputation enhancer and will retain clients and develop repeat clients. 
  10. Continuously Improve
    • The final tip for staying competitive is continuous improvement.  Use tools to develop surveys to receive feedback.  When seeking feedback, you might not like what you hear, but it will help correct any issues or quality misunderstandings.  Review your services regularly and make changes as needed so to enhance the client experience. 

In conclusion, as a small business or solopreneur, competition can be tough but tough never put anyone out of business.  The right strategies can get you from “survive” to “thrive.”  Focus on understanding your target market, offering unique products and services, staying up to date with industry trends, leveraging technology, developing strong relationships with customers, offering competitive prices, staying active on social media, collaborating with other businesses, focusing on quality, and continuously improving. Implementing these strategies can help you stay competitive and succeed in a crowded market.

Ten Ways to Stay Competitive in a Crowded Marketplace

Collin Harbour

Collin W. Harbour is the Principal Founder of C Harbour Services LLC, a business transformation and strategy company that develops strategic plans by aligning sales and plans with company goals, people and process.

Collin is a client growth and business strategy leader with experience identifying new business opportunities, as well as managing and growing client revenues. Through C Harbour Services LLC, Collin focuses on creating customized solutions that deliver valuable services, allowing clients to focus on their core business. He is a Co-Host of Strike a Chord Live Podcast with his lifelong friend, Marcus Ellis. SACL Podcast is a Motivational and Inspirational podcast, with a mix of Nostalgia and Fun! Harbourtime Strategy Talks is a blog and podcast providing strategic content for companies of all sizes.