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If you are a small business owner, you will definitely have competition from other small businesses as well as big businesses. Whether you are a new player or an established one you have to be wary of the existing competition from both upcoming and established players. Even if you are doing well presently there is no guarantee your small business will do well in the future. Ideally you should strive to always be several steps ahead from the existing competition.

We look at some pointers to stay ahead of your business rivals.

Know Your Competition Well

It is unlikely that you are the sole player in the market. In the rare scenario that you are the sole operating business the situation is bound to change. Thanks to the Internet and social media today’s customer is more informed and knowledgeable than ever before. Do not make the mistake of ignoring or underestimating prospective or existing customers. He/she will compare the products and/or services of different businesses before shortlisting the most superior one. Visit your competitor’s premises, go through the websites and social media pages of the business competitors. Research on the Internet to obtain any available information on the relevant companies. If possible, have direct interaction with some of the rival’s customers. Examine their marketing paraphernalia such as visiting cards, brochures, fliers etc. You must be clear and knowledgeable about the competition’s value proposition as well as strengths and weaknesses.

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Act Swiftly On Your Knowledge

There is no use having a lot of knowledge about the marketplace without implementing a clear and effective business strategy. Keep in the mind that the implementation must be fast enough to catch the competition by surprise. Keep your marketing and business strategy strictly confidential. If the rivals come to know that they are sure to take countermeasures. If they are big established players in the market, then keep a low profile to escape unwanted attention and possible reprisals. Keep on tweaking and fine tuning your business strategy adapting to the constantly changing business scenario.

Realize That You Have Certain Advantages That Big Businesses Don’t Have

Your small business should not be intimidated by big rivals. Usually your overheads will be lower than the bigger players. Hence you can offer competitive prices on your products and services. Price is a major factor in most customer’s calculations and consideration. So, you can attract some customers away from your bigger competitors. Also, small businesses can act and change faster than their bigger counterparts. So, small businesses can grab and leverage business opportunities before their bigger rivals do. Large service companies and product companies usually offer a big range of services and products. Hence, you can capitalize on this by specializing in a few products and services.

The Human Element Is Very Rare Today

Most big businesses and even several small businesses do the majority of their business through phone calls, electronic mails and electronic transactions. Be different from the crowd. Offer personalized and superior customer service. A welcoming smile and warm greeting doesn’t cost a penny. Customers will feel special if the owner of a small business takes out time and effort to personally attend to them. This normally doesn’t occur in big businesses and even many small businesses. You will be surprised by how many customers appreciate this gesture. The human element is still preferred to mechanical processes by many folks.

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Look Inward

While it is important to be aware of the competition you must first concentrate on improving your value proposition. When customers realize that you are offering something better and truly unique they will flock to you. You must know your strengths and weaknesses in and out. Concentrate more on maximizing your strengths rather than minimizing your weaknesses. Remember that focusing on existing customers yields more than acquiring new ones.

Revamp Your Small Business

Make your business better than the competition. Shift to a better location. Paint your store. Hire more employees if possible. Invest in a better website and marketing materials. Do what it takes to outshine the rest. Rest assured victory is yours.

The key to stay ahead of your rivals is to stay abreast of the developments in the marketplace, never underestimating your competitors and keep on innovating and reinventing your precious small business.

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