Things are looking up for you and your small business. You’ve set up shop in town, created your own little niche’ market, developed some strong customer relationships, and the profits have been pouring in. Life couldn’t be going better for you.
Then, on one fateful day the unspeakable happens… a competitor moves right next door! It’s a red alert, your worst nightmare. Now, before you run out of your house with your hair on fire cursing the world, take a deep breath, and maintain your composure. There is a way to fix this problem, and no, it doesn’t involve threatening this new competitor to leave your turf.
There are plenty of ways for you to survive and thrive even when a direct competitor moves into town. So, again, take a deep breath and let’s go over what you need to be doing in order to outshine this new competitor.
Study Your Opponent: Start Researching
Essentially, to best your new local competition you must channel your inner ninja, and like any skillful warrior, before you strike, you must first study your enemy thoroughly. Below are three sources for the research you’re going to conduct on your next-door competitor.
1. Monitor Their Review Page
Review sites such as Google and/or Yelp are a great avenue for you to monitor your new competitor. Sites like Google and Yelp allow consumers to voice how their experience was. This gives you the perfect opportunity to get the inside scoop on how the market actually feels about your competition. You can analyze what their weaknesses and strengths are with consumers.
2. Sign up for Their Newsletter
Almost every business out there sends out a weekly/monthly newsletter, and if this new local competitor has one, you need to be signed up for it. Your local competition’s newsletter will be littered with information on all their latest, greatest news and updates. This can be anything from new products they’re rolling out, to new services they’re looking to introduce. Signing up with your competitor’s newsletter allows you to keep track of what they’re planning, and where they’re heading.
3. Be a Secret Shopper
It’s time to go undercover in a covert mission venturing into enemy territory. It’s important you fully understand the experience your competitor is offering consumers. Monitoring them online helps give you some second-hand insight, but nothing quite compares to a first-hand observation.
Go to their store. Try out their services. You’re not just a business owner, you’re also a consumer. Embrace your inner customer and really contemplate how your competitor operates - what their strengths are and what they lack.
The Fatal Strike: Take Down the Local Competition
You’ve been patient. You’ve put in your time, stalking silently from the shadows, and now… NOW, it’s time for you to strike! Below are the two blows you’ll need to take down the competition.
At this point you know your competitor inside and out. Now you can use this knowledge to differentiate yourself from them. From your observations you know what your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses are. So, revamp your business’ strategies and communications to both offset your competitor’s strengths and capitalize on their weaknesses.
For example, through your research you notice the only way to book appointments with your competitor is by phone. This can be a lengthy, and overall inconvenient process. Unlike your competitor, your business has an online booking system. You can personalize and differentiate your business on this aspect. Yes, both offer the same services, but market your business to clients as the place for “easy appointment bookings, at any time with just the click of a button.” Consumers will start to differentiate you from your competitors in their mind - both provide great services, but one is convenient to book with and the other is not. Distinguishability achieved!
2. Focus on Quality Customer Service
Personalizing your business based on your new competition’s strengths and weaknesses is a great way to ensure that consumers come through your doors as opposed to your competitors, but it’s not the only way. Although something which should always be top-of-mind, quality customer service becomes one of your business’ greatest weapons when the competition moves next door. At the end of the day, people rely on their emotions to make most of their decisions. So, if you show customers you care, and put their individualized needs at the forefront of every interaction they’ll become more than just customers, but also loyal friends. They won’t even notice a competitor has moved into the neighbor. If you can foster a strong sense of customer loyalty, the competition pretty much doesn't even exist.
Did these ways of the ninja help you take down your local competition? Any techniques you find useful that perhaps we overlooked? Be sure to leave us a comment below!
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