Posts Tagged ‘Competition’

Business Competition: Fuel or Distraction?

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Originally Published by Carol Roth
January 2012

I often see parallels between sports and business.  Let’s take football for example. The player who gets the ball and runs with it to try to score points for his team is not unlike an entrepreneur who takes an idea and runs with it, trying to create revenue for his business.

As the running back or wide receiver is running a full sprint towards the goal line, it is tempting for him to look back over his shoulder.  He knows that the competition is on his heels and it’s hard to resist the urge to check out how close they truly are. But when a player does that, it slows him down, often to the point that the competitor can catch up- or even tackle him.

I see the same thing with entrepreneurs, especially those blazing a trail.  It’s tempting to waste time on the competitors who are following behind, trying to copy or catch us, or even just causing a ridiculous commotion. However, it’s much more effective to stay focused on your own goal line.

Put your energy into running as fast as you can and blazing the path towards the goal, instead of worrying about where your competition is or what they are doing.  If you keep your focus and you have the talent, they won’t be able to catch you.

  • Competition makes us take action. It forces us to dig deeper, take responsibility and in some cases, to act quickly.
  • Competition challenges us to think of ways to improve the product/service we provide. Without the competition breathing down our neck we may never feel the pressure to try to take our business to the next level.
  • Competition forces us to take better care of our customers. It impresses upon us the need to keep our customer at the center of our focus every single day. The reality is, if we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.
  • Competition keeps us honest and running our business in fair and equitable ways. It gives the customer comparisons so they can make an intelligent choice of which service provider is right for them.
  • Competition keeps our sights set on the future – constantly looking for the next touch point and opportunity to improve the lives of our customers and the relationships we have with them and keep them asking for more.

Remember to be good to your customers so your competitors never get the chance to!

Source: Market Viewpoint

TO SPEND OR NOT TO SPEND?

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Most businesses are facing the same dilemma during these economic times: What costs should we cut?

Many businesses cut back across the board, marketing included, but a slash and burn method can be a costly mistake.  For instance, Ford was outperforming Chevrolet at the beginning of the Great Depression. Ford cut back their marketing efforts while Chevrolet moved forward with an aggressive marketing plan. The result – the two effectively swapped positions in the marketplace. Proctor & Gamble is also a good example – they increased their marketing dollars during the depression, and every recession since, and have seen regular increases in revenue as a result.

The best strategy in terms of long-term ROI is to increase marketing expenditure during an economic slowdown. Boosting marketing investments while competitors reduce theirs can provide a substantial advantage that could be maintained for years.

Marketing should be part of a business’s long-term strategic plan. Marketing drives revenue, and is not discretionary. The challenge is to use marketing dollars wisely. Much like the beginning or start-up phase of any business, when funds are likely low, marketing, public relations and promotion are key. The same holds true in a recession.

Opportunity knocks for those who continue marketing during tough times. This strategy takes courage and a view of the ‘big picture,’ but odds and statistics are on the side of those that view these costs as an investment and not an expense. The recession will end. When it does, the best place for a business is to still be in the game.

IMAGE

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Image may not be everything, but it can absolutely make the difference between managing a thriving business or just struggling through the day.  Businesses are judged by their appearances (cleanliness and maintenance of the building, employee appearance, etc.) as well as management and employee approachability. How your business image is perceived may tip the scales in either your direction or that of your competition.

Customer Service: Going Above and Beyond

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Competition is tough.  In fact, your competition is probably plotting to attract your customers as you read this!  To achieve long-term profitability you should offer more than great service – you have to help customers solve their problems. Develop strong customer relationships that will enhance loyalty and provide solutions to problems that may arise.  Commit to these efforts and gain a competitive advantage in today’s tough economy.

Listen to Your Customer: Customers want you to understand their problems, needs, expectations and priorities. If you do not listen, they will find someone else who does – your competition.

You Are in Sales: No matter what your position may be, you are a salesperson. You must keep that in mind with every interaction and decision you make. Customers are constantly evaluating you and whether they will continue to do business with you. Every time they have contact with you, it is important that you show care and concern. What type of answers do you give? How is your tone of voice? Do you sound professional and happy to be serving them – even though you may not feel like it? Everything you say and do has an effect on business and customer loyalty.

Every current and prospective customer should be treated as valuable, priceless resources to be cherished and handled with delicacy.

Create a Quality Service Culture: A quality service culture recognizes opportunities to exceed customer expectations.  If everyone commits to a high level of service in every aspect of customer interaction, your business will be in a better position to maintain a profitable business.

Referrals: Market to your existing long-term customers; they are more likely to refer others.  Focus a significant amount of your time, effort and resources on your current customers.  They are already doing business with you and are apt to discuss the merits of your business.  Referrals are a great way to reach your target market and can be an inside shortcut to supercharging your business.

By providing excellent customer care in addition to a referral bonus program, your current customers can become an invaluable marketing tool in helping you increase your sales. Give your current customers something to talk about, and offer them an incentive to use their bragging rights!  Providing the best service is half the equation, encouraging happy customers to spread the good vibes is the other half. Satisfied customers are your best salespeople, because they spread the word about your quality, value and service to their friends. Consider implementing a loyalty program, where your long-term customers are rewarded.

Have fun!: Be sure to have fun. It is easy to get caught up in goals, outcomes and deliverables. These are important, but customers also want to deal with people who enjoy what they do. The more fun you have while providing outstanding service, the longer your customers will stay.