(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – One of the most important responsibilities of a small business owner is to make sure that the products and services you provide are of the highest quality. No matter what the industry, trends are changing constantly. In today’s article we will discuss the most important ways you can stay ahead of your competition on a day-to-day basis.
Know your customer – Do you truly understand who your customer base is? Where do they look for information? How do they choose to communicate? Only with these insights can you really start to satisfy your customers’ needs. A lack of attention to these areas is a common mistake that can result in companies losing both current and potential customers. Conducting targeted research will give you the information needed to tailor and develop future plans for improving customer satisfaction, retention and profit growth.
Initiate new ideas – Innovation is a goal that every business owner needs to strive for. It may at times be challenging to convince others of your vision, but if you know new ideas that will benefit the business, hold firm and inspire your colleagues. New ideas only have a chance to succeed if you fully pursue them, considering opposing points but not always throwing out ideas once someone says they cannot be done. Innovation is the ideal method for staying ahead of your competitors. Do not be afraid to consider ideas outside of your comfort zone. A new, unique business strategy, product enhancement or campaign plan might provide the edge over others to lead your industry.
Stay informed – As a small business owner, it is your job to guide your business in the right direction using the best of your knowledge. That is why it is crucial to stay informed of national, international and industry-specific news, as all outlets could have an effect on the future decisions of your business. Take the knowledge you learn from staying on top of the news, and put it into the strategies for your services, products, marketing, or even the general operations.
Research – Sometimes it helps to be curious. Pay attention to everything that you read or learn from others in the industry, take initiative if something could be of interest to your company, and determine if it is something that can benefit the business. Focus on what the potential cost, commitment, resources and risk would be required to make an idea come to life. Examining what your competition has done in the past or present can be a great guide for challenging yourself. By evaluating the competition’s issues, ideas, or strategies as well as those of your own business, you can better map out the competitive landscape. Conferences, trade shows, and exhibitions offer some of the best ways to learn about what is happening in your industry. These events provide a unique environment for everyone in your industry or with the same interests, which gives you the opportunity to actually network with your competitors. Take advantage of this opportunity, and learn about their current plans – useful for critiquing your own company’s plan.
Get involved in social media – There is an increasingly high demand for social media integration with businesses. In fact, 1&1 recently conducted research that shows that 78 percent of Americans now expect all businesses to be active on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. These are some of the most popular social platforms that people use for company and product information, special promotions, or to have questions answered. In other words, a company’s lack of a presence on these sites can negatively affect their business. Social media is an essential element of any marketing plan.
Develop relationships – Being active within your community and industry (online or otherwise) helps to establish trust in the company and grow potential partnerships. This can be especially beneficial in several ways, such as providing the company with new target markets, giving fresh perspectives and skill sets, and expanding products and services for customers. New relationships also help you analyze your industry’s progress into new niches – which can be a great way to guide your approach to branding and marketing.
Realizing how your company fits into your industry’s changing landscape is a valuable perspective to have as a small business owner. Companies should evolve with their market and capitalize upon areas of competitive advantage. To accomplish this, it takes leadership, creativity, and commitment in equal measures.
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1&1 Internet Inc., a global leader among Web hosts, provides companies with the tools necessary to get online and be successful. For more useful tips on how you can drive success for your business via your website or online marketing methods, visit success.1and1.com.