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Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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How to Stay Ahead of the Competition

 

The business world is a constant struggle to beat out the competition. You have to always offer the newest, best, most cutting-edge products and services if you want to stay ahead of the game and grow your business. But how can you consistently come up with new ideas and improvements to your products and services? How can you ensure that you’re always one step ahead of the competition? Here are a few ideas to help you start your climb to the top.

Fill a Void for Consumers

The best products are those that fill a void in the consumers’ lives. If you can identify an area where consumers are not having their demands met, then you can capitalize on this and turn it into a profit-wielding tool. But how do you identify that void? The best way to find out what customer needs are not being met is to ask your customers.

Through careful surveys and reliable innovation management software, you can collect valuable data that will allow you to identify your customers’ needs, and determine if those needs are being met or not. Is there a certain improvement to your product or service that would better meet their needs? Is there a common pain point that your current customer base has that nobody is addressing? If you can find a gap in the current market, you can become the first to fill it. In doing so, you’ll carve yourself a niche in the industry and propel your business to the top of your field.

Set Yourself a Part

While it’s important to always know what your competition is up to, and adapt to any major changes your rivals make, it’s also important that you don’t just copy everything they do. Nobody made a name for themselves by being a copycat. So you need to find a way to set yourself apart from the competition. Give your customers a reason to come to you instead of someone else in your industry.

The best way to start doing this is—ironically enough—to study your competition. Identify what their unique selling point (USP) is and determine the areas where you need to compete with them, and where you can differentiate yourself. Then, determine what your USP should be. Tap into what customers want (see above) and show them exactly what makes you different.

Focus on Keeping Your Customers

While bringing in new customers is essential to growing a company, it’s not as important as retaining your current customers. Your current customers provide a much more reliable source of income than new prospects. According to some studies, the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20%. But the probability of selling to a current customer is roughly 60-70%. Your current customer base is your best, most reliable source of future income, so you should be placing a heavy focus on quality customer service and customer retention.

If you’re noticing a significant amount of turnover in your client base, then you should address the issues immediately. Begin conducting surveys of customers who have chosen to leave your business. Ask them why they’re leaving, if they’re going to switch to one of your competitors, and what the competitor is offering them that you’re not. Knowing these things will help you to address any possible issues with your customer service so that you don’t continue to lose valuable customers.

 

These 3 tips alone won’t help you to beat out the competition. It’s going to take a lot of consistent effort and industry knowledge to keep you ahead of the game. But these 3 things will provide you with a strong basis and a good start as you begin your climb to the top of your business field.

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