The business can be brutal because… well, that’s business! Business Tips!
For every success you achieve in increasing your market share, another company or business will inevitably lose ground.
Here are 11 quick and easy business tips to gain a competitive advantage over your competitors and to protect yourself from the threat of new entrants in the market.
1. Focus on potential customers, not sales
Of course, we all want to stimulate business growth and increase revenue. But the way to do it in a sustainable way is to focus instead on building a loyal database of ardent fans.
Content marketing, paired with optimized website templates and smart email automation tracking, is critical to business success. This approach builds trust by giving away free value before asking for someone’s hard-earned money.
Not an expert in creating optimized lead generation pages on a website? Don’t worry, use a reliable tool like Leadpages to make it happen. Business Tips!
2. Don’t sell products, offer solutions
Like it or not, people out there aren’t looking for your brand, they’re just looking to solve a problem or find a specific type of product (unless you run Starbucks or Adidas!)
Do not list all the benefits that your product brings. Focus on solutions. Explain to the customer in simple, direct terms how or why your product can help them or them achieve their goals.
Consider FedEx’s iconic mantra: When something is positive, Business Tips! it must be there overnight. This was a clear example of addressing the widespread concern about the reliability of delivery services.
Do some market research to determine your target customer profile. How does your product or service – and delivery and price – solve other people’s problems and make their lives easier or more enjoyable?
3. Always improve your prices
Lower prices don’t necessarily increase sales, for example (although it will certainly reduce margins). If you position yourself as a premium brand, your customers will not necessarily be value-driven in the first place, and lowering prices may tarnish your brand.
Consider this case study from Robert Cialdini’s seminal book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion: a jeweler ran out of turquoise jewelry after accidentally doubling the price, rather than halving it. The inflated price gave the product an unjustified character!
If you’re a premium brand, there are ways to improve your pricing without cutting prices. For example, offer a quality-conscious customer an “exclusive” feature that your competitors either cannot or cannot offer.
On the other hand, if you’re on the value-driven end of the market, don’t assume that lower prices mean a loss. The low price can help you quickly prepare for a large group of new customers who may also buy other items in your store and come back again.
Context is also very important with pricing. The best way to sell a $5,000 watch, Business Tips! for example, could be by placing it next to a $10,000 watch. Think strategically when it comes to setting any price point.
4. Hire friendly staff who deal with customers
Yes, it sounds obvious, but it is very important! Whether consciously or not, people are more likely to buy a product if they like the sales assistant taking care of them.
While employee personality obviously has no bearing on price or your product’s ability to meet their needs is irrelevant. Friendly staff who deal with customers will always attract more sales.
Be strict in hiring people who are really cheerful and friendly. Make sure your training program teaches them to consistently adopt a friendly approach that makes customers feel comfortable and feel like a priority.
5. Stay open longer
Let’s say you’re a brick-and-mortar store and you’re booming with customers as closing time approaches… So why not close after an hour?
While this may cause discontent among employees, solve this problem by getting creative with menus. Monitor customer turnout throughout the day and week to identify the busiest periods, and staff accordingly. Business Tips!
You can also reduce staff during quieter periods to offset the higher costs and longer working hours that result from extended working hours.
It’s a win for everyone!
6. Don’t make customers dig deep to get a phone number
Even in the digital age, some customers always prefer to contact you by phone rather than email or Facebook. While many online businesses with narrow margins avoid manned phone lines entirely, it’s worth giving customers the option to have a voice chat with your brand.
By all means, cut down on time and cost spent responding to inquiries by directing customers to standardized responses pre-existing on your web page (eg FAQ).
But if your search query isn’t on the FAQ dropdown list, don’t make them click more than once to find your phone number.
Put it front and center on your web page, especially if you’re selling retail.
Live chat bots are an inexpensive way to offer real-time communication as well.
7. Give something for nothing (or very little)
Why not give your happy customers a voucher to redeem your products and services? If they actually love what you do, they will love you even more for it.
It is useful to you because:
- Ensure that they will come back to your store again. People hate to waste free gifts!
- When they come back to your store to redeem the coupon, they may buy other items as well. If your business operates online, the freebie can be strategically timed to coincide with a special sale.
Oh, and guess what? Chances are that customers who got free coupons or gifts won’t be silent about it either, so enjoy some positive posts on social media.
8. Support your local community
Arguably, local businesses can connect with their unique communities with far more authority than any global chain.
A local retailer, hair salon, or gardening company can sponsor a kids’ sports team and offer deep discounts on OAPs at the same time.
Some cinemas feature special “sensory” shows where parents can bring autistic children (who are usually overwhelmed by crowded and noisy environments) to enjoy a movie in a relaxed and stress-free setting. This reflects well on them and also guarantees them the status of loyal customers.
Whatever you choose to do to support your community, make sure it fits authentically with your brand presentation and business journey so far.
Social media is a great way to build a strong relationship with clients – just don’t forget what “social” actually means! Talking about the soulless corporate store on Twitter won’t work.
Try to personalize your brand when writing updates or posts. This can bring its own risks, of course. But if I get it right, the benefits can be enormous.
Develop a tone of voice that aligns well with your brand identity. Find information, help, entertainment or amusement.
And most importantly – given the dire consequences of PR – do not interact with others, try hard to be funny, or tweet after a few alcoholic drinks!
10. Own your stature
Sometimes it is better to be a master of one discipline than to be a master of all trades. Admittedly, multiple revenue streams spread risk: if one falters, the others can take a slump.
However, consumers often associate “specialists” with higher quality products or services than the general public. And for good reason, too: Specialists usually invest all their resources into perfecting a single product or service.
So what should you specialize in? To make the obvious, it should be something you excel at.
You can also choose something that is in high demand or resistant to stagnation and is flexible to technological change in which you have a competitive advantage over your competitors or where there is an obvious gap in the local market.
Own it, whatever you do.
11. Be humble
Don’t be too satisfied with your business. You can always improve – and you should improve!
Don’t get me wrong: Without the strange moment of smug complacency, what’s the point? Enjoy the successful launch of a game-changing product or enjoy positive customer feedback. But don’t let your customers hear you hit it over and over again!
Pay attention to the common ingredient that has brought down countless burgeoning brands thus far: complacency. Imaginative, smart, and innovative startups often do better than big market leaders who just got lazy.
You may be a troublesome innovator today, but tomorrow you can be the satisfied market leader with a tired business model.
So try to be humble and always strive to improve. Find inspiration from other entrepreneurs, from books and seminars. The moment you think “mission accomplished” is the moment you become vulnerable to rape.
There are many ways you can improve your business, and not all of them are complicated!
Try the above trading tips or combine them with your existing strategies, and let me know how you go in the comments below.