The business environment today is incredibly competitive. The shift in technology and the disruption of digital media has meant that businesses need to take advantage of modern technologies and digital media to stay relevant. A business will be at a disadvantage to its competitors if it does not have a technology-first mentality.
Whilst some industries innovate more slowly than others, Covid19 has fast-tracked the uptake of technology and is disrupting nearly every sector. Disruption through innovation will eventually occur in all industries and it is only a matter of time before it impacts your industry (if it hasn’t already). Your business needs to embrace, whether it be adopting a strong social media presence or upgrading internal systems.
Innovating is not limited to technology giants such as Google and Facebook. It can simply mean upgrading your CRM system to operate more efficiently compared to your competitors, having a modern website, better marketing strategy or cloud-based inventory management system, etc. New and old businesses all benefit from having a technology-first mindset.
Having a strategic business partnership can help your business stand out from the competition. A used car yard could have a profit-sharing partnership with a finance broker. This type of arrangement works well in service-based industries where the two parties partnering are not in direct competition with each other.
The idea of a partnership requires both businesses to receive a net benefit. This could be in the form of receiving more leads, commission for a customer referral. Do not cross the line where the relationship becomes forced upon your customers as this can be considered third-line forcing or exclusive dealing which is illegal.
It costs more to find new customers than it does to service existing customers. Cross-selling to existing customers is a much more reliable (and cheaper) way to generate additional revenue than finding new customers. Finding new markets can be more exciting but your business shouldn’t lose sight of servicing its loyal customers and adding more value in the form of new products or services.
Look to capitalise on your business’s existing customers base by marketing to them via email or directly through your account managers. You can trial extra products or services with your loyal customer base and run them as a promo. If the feedback is positive, it may be a good idea to add the new product or service as part of your permanent offerings.
Marketing is forever changing. It used to be print and radio advertising, the TV, then the computer and now the phone. There are now so many social media platforms available that it is understandably intimidating for the uninitiated. There is an easy way to navigate the digital marketing world – focus on the most important 2-4 channels and spend your time/budget there.
Does your business have a modern website? Can you find it on Google? Is your business on social media and if so how does its presence compare to your competitors. Nearly everyone in Australia uses social media in some shape or form so it makes sense to put in effort in those that may have a material effect on your branding.
Once your business has matured and it can no longer grow substantially within its current markets, demographic or location, it is time to look beyond. It is always best to test the waters with new markets to see if there is demand for your product or service.
For a B2B company, this could include testing B2C and seeing if selling direct to consumers would work out financially. Another idea could be opening in a new location; a different suburb, state or even country.
Careful planning is needed as many factors that could impact the success of venturing into a new market.
An easy way to stand out among the competition is to offer the best possible service to your customers. This applies to all industries and businesses and there is always an end-user or customer. Word of mouth is free and it never hurts to have a good reputation.
Businesses that have amazing customer service generally have a positive culture within their organisation which revolves around going above and beyond for its customers, tracking the Net Promoter Score (NPS) of its customers and proactively approaching customers to get legitimate reviews on websites such as Google and Trustpilot.
Does your current branding reflect your business as it is today? If not, now may be a good time to refresh your logo, signage, website and business cards.
The same applies to your physical premises. Would your offices or shopfront benefit from fresh paint, updated furniture, a new fit-out or signage? For example, painting a café’s walls, introducing artwork, or placing baked goods on display on the counter can make a big difference to how space looks and feels.
Another common way to outperform your competitors is to have a more optimal offering of products and services. Having more products and services isn’t necessarily good, nor bad for your business. Some businesses should have fewer products and services and should focus on their core offerings, whilst others should include more.
Listen to your customers’ feedback and analyse any data you may have on your business’ range of products and services. Use that information to make an informed decision before making significant changes to your business’ range of products and services.
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