It’s easy to make money when you own a large corporation that has an influential brand name and reputation. However, it’s not so easy if you own a startup or small business. Many startups and small businesses fail or struggle to break even from not executing competitive strategies successfully, or not applying competitive strategies at all. No matter your reason, I’m going to share with you favorite – and easy! – competitive strategies to help your startup or small business succeed.
1. Compare Prices
No matter how big, small, new, or old your business is, your first competitive strategy to tackle should be comparing prices. Research your competition to see how they’re marketing their goods and services and for what prices. Take a look at your big brand competition, see what successful competitive strategies they’re using, and borrow them for your own company. If you want to sell your goods at the lowest cost while still making a pretty penny, you’ll need to find a wholesale supplier who will give you a great discount. They exist – just beware of wholesale supplier scams.
2. Take Your Business Online
The world is going digital, and so are shopping centers. If you haven’t yet jumped on the e-commerce bandwagon, now is the time to do it. Taking your traditional brick and mortar business online will allow you to reach more customers – and fast! It’ll also help you keep up with the ever-changing times of how people use the Internet. However, in order to accept credit cards online through your website, you’ll need an e-commerce merchant account and payment gateway from a reliable payment processor.
3. Post Ads in Newspapers
If your startup or small business is a traditional brick and mortar, a great way to advertise is through your local newspaper. Post ads promoting sales and discounts to attract new customers as well as returning customers. If your business is online only, you can still post ads in your local newspaper promoting sales and discounts, but include copy about the importance of supporting local businesses. If posting in local newspapers is successful, try posting in a bigger newspaper that circulates to a wider audience, like the Boston Globe or Chicago Tribune.
4. Use Social Networking to Advertise Your Startup or Small Business
Social Networking is a great tool to advertise your startup or small business for free. It’s also a great way to gain credibility, trust, and awareness. You can use Facebook to market your business by promoting specials, new products, and hot-selling items. Facebook photo albums are also a great way of promoting, and can give your startup or small business a personal human touch. Twitter is excellent for customer service. You can use it to see what others are saying about you, respond to direct messages and tweets, and advertise your business. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family to mention you in a few tweets to help get the word out about your goods or services.
5. Use Daily Deal Websites to Help Increase Business
Daily deal websites like LivingSocial and Groupon can help drive customers to your store or website, or both. As a brick and mortar business owner, daily deals you can offer – depending on what type of business you own – include group deals, buy one get one free deals, and percent discount deals. If you operate an e-commerce store, then it will be easiest for you to offer buy one get one free deals and percent discount deals. Consumers are always more likely to buy goods that are on sale, so don’t underestimate the power of daily deal websites.
6. Join a Professional Association Related to Your Industry
By joining a professional association related to your business’s industry, you can meet others working in the same or a similar field as you. Attend group meetings, share your competitive strategies, and learn about strategies used by your competitors. Joining a professional association has more perks than finding out your competitor’s secrets. It’ll also allow you to make new friends and expand your professional network. Collaborate with other group members for a charitable cause or joint promotional event. Your opportunities are endless when you join a professional association.
7. Attend Tradeshows Related to Your Industry
Tradeshows allow you to get up-to-date with your industry’s latest innovations. You can attend seminars hosted by industry leaders where they’ll share invaluable information – future trend predictions, competitive strategies that have helped their businesses succeed, and new inventions and discoveries. Attending tradeshows will allow you to remain on the forefront of your industry, which will definitely give your business that competitive edge.
Share Your Competitive Strategies
What are your most frequently used competitive business strategies? What strategies have given you the most growth? What are some of your favorite tradeshows to attend? What professional associations have you joined? What are some benefits you’ve gotten as a member of a professional association? How have sales and discounts helped promote your business?
About the Author: Meghan Faye Wolff is the senior copywriter and marketing specialist for Instabill Corporation. Instabill provides international and offshore payment processing solutions to e-commerce and MOTO merchants worldwide. Meghan writes about social media marketing, tips for start-up businesses, and e-commerce and payments industry news on the Instabill blog.