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Use your competition to grow your business

You cannot ignore or dismiss your competitors. You may consider your competition incomparable in quality or service, but to your customers they may be viewed as viable options.

Consumers are less loyal to brands and people than ever, and vote with their feet. So it is important to be aware of your competition and also make sure that you are setting the standards in your industry.

While you should not run your business constantly looking over your shoulder to see your competition, it is important to understand the market in which you operate and what your ideal customers are looking for.

Adapt to your clients
Conduct an informal survey of your direct competitors clients and look at what they are doing well, what the clients love, and what the clients hate. You can also look at your indirect competitors and gain an understanding of where the market is heading.

Use this information to improve your business offering and service. Listen to what your ideal clients want – they are after all the ones who will chose to use you or your competitor.

A stubborn business that does not adapt or innovate will find themselves irrelevant to more ideal clients, thus narrowing your opportunities for growth and new business.

Beat your competitors
Don’t try and beat your competitors with lower prices. Lead your market with a high standard of service, quality, and the non-tangible aspects that lead to an in-demand business offering.

Competing on price can be a slippery slide into oblivion. Remember people don’t buy a product or a service, they buy what it does and how it makes them feel. People buy security, prestige, convenience and lifestyle.

Discounts often risk devaluing your product or service, however with careful planning you may find that you can offer unique packages that might contain a discount but result in you selling more product.

Make it easy for people to do business with you and give them a reason to stay loyal and keep coming back.

Don’t copy your competitors – be unique
Know why you are unique to your competitors and regularly communicate those messages to your existing clients, potential clients, suppliers and influential people in your industry.

Form alliances with your competitors
Don’t see your competitors as the enemy. They can be a great resource, support network, referrer and even friend. After all – they go through many of the same things you do in your business. There will often be opportunities for you to refer business to your competitors that may not be appropriate for you but ideal for your competition.

Know where markets and consumer attitudes are going. Plan for tomorrow while excelling today.

How do you keep tabs on your competition?

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Rick Mapperson

Rick Mapperson

Rick Mapperson is the founder and managing director of Rick Mapperson and Associates ( http://sydneyinsurancebroker.com.au/), a personal insurance brokerage. Rick has been insuring people, particularly small business owners, for twenty years. Rick combines his skills as a licensed Financial Planner and his understanding as the co-founder of an Australian charity focused on families, to understand the best interests of his clients. You can follow Rick on twitter @RickMapperson

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