Ben Bierman, Managing Director of Business Partners Limited
JOHANNESBURG - Businesses  always have competition, But an aggressive new competitor looking to undercut you can have a major impact on your business. 

Businesses that offer a high-quality service or product do not have much to worry about. However, a good strategy to thwart threats on the market share and visibility is always advisable. .

Here are eight simple tips to stay ahead of the game.

Learning

Consider the competition as a challenge to improve your business. Take note of what they might be doing well and take cues from them when relooking at some of your marketing tactics, service offering or customer service strategy.

Focus

A business’ unique selling point is what makes it stand out from the rest – whether you are the most affordable in your category, the most reliable, or the fastest when it comes to service delivery. Focus on differentiating yourself and becoming the best within your niche as this will help your customers choose you over your competitors.

Innovation

It is important to avoid becoming complacent about your business positioning. Look at what you can improve and stay on top of industry trends. Ask if your business offering is still satisfying an existing need or want in the market, or if it is at risk of becoming redundant.

Monitoring

It helps to know who your competitors are at any given time. Regularly check in on the market so you can catch wind of new competitors as early as possible. Set up Google Alerts, for example, or make it a performance target for staff to send updates every week.

Performance

Do good work, always. It’s crucial that your work speaks for itself. Ensure you are consistently delivering high-quality goods or services, paired with excellent customer service to keep getting return customers. Have less to fear when other businesses try to come for your target audience with a similar offering.

Processes

Look at ways to improve . Turn negatives into positives by looking at ways to add to your business offering. Consider what internal processes may need to be changed or if you should be going after new audiences. If your tactics are getting outdated, think out-of-the-box to get back on top and stay relevant in an ever-changing environment.

Marketing

Tell your story better.  Rally marketing efforts on what your business does well. Consider fast-tracking marketing plans you might have had in the pipeline for a while, and double efforts on telling your story through better signage, sharing client testimonials on social media, or communicating your recent successes via a newsletter or social media posts.

Partnerships

Rather than feeling affronted, take the time to consider which competitors might be a good idea to partner with. Look for strengths that make the two businesses compatible - you may have a fantastic product, but they have better access to certain clients. This may mean you are a perfect match for cross-promotional activities. Remember, partnerships have to be a win-win.

Ben Bierman is a managing partner at Business Partners Limited

BUSINESS REPORT