When times get tough, the competition gets tougher. So how do you stay ahead of your game? How do you win the race?

Here are a few tips to help you out. 

1. Look within 

Start by looking internally, only the arrogant believe they are good enough to beat their competitors without having to work at it every day. You need to constantly be bettering yourself. 

2. Know your enemy 

Do you know who your competitors are? Do you know what sets them apart? Do you know why customers choose them over you? What are their plans and strategies? These are important factors and you need to find out what they are up to so that you can compete. 

3. Don't compete on Price 

This is a very dangerous strategy and any of your competitors can match or beat you at this game. If your customers think your pricing is expensive, there are a few things you need to consider. Are you "selling" your value? Do your customers know what they are getting for their buck? It is really important to ensure your customers know what is packed in your price. Remember once you start reducing your price, discounting your services, it is a long and often dangerous path to try get your price back up to old levels again. 

4. Set yourself apart, what is your USP (unique selling proposition) 

What makes you unique from your competition? What can you do that they can't? And even if they can do it, how can you do it better? Know your strengths and focus on developing these. Focus on innovation, product quality, service and delivery excellence and superior customer service. 

5. What can you Guarantee? 

Do you remember Morkel furniture chain? What an amazing job they did of owning "the 2-year guarantee" this may not have been unique to them, however, they shouted about it and made sure they stuck to their promise. Others in the market were offering a better guarantee but they were not using it to drive their promise. 

6. Know your audience 

Position your product in the right place, to do this you need to know your customer and identify who you want to target. Market segmentation and understanding the demographics of your customer base is really important when trying to take on the competition. It is also important to know what your customers want. We often base customer needs on a guess or gut feel, what we think or believe they need. Do the research and fulfill a need. 

7. Give your customer a vote 

Get feedback from your customers on what you can do better, what you can do to make you the preferred supplier. Don't hide away from things when they go wrong, use this as an opportunity to engage and learn, so that you can take the lead in your game. 

8. Product is King 

Don't compromise on your product quality to try to compete, or use this as a method of reducing overhead costs to survive and overtake others. This may work at the outset but your rocketing sales will plummet in double the time. Unless you want to position yourself as the "Made in China" brand, keep quality as your king. 

Please feel free to contact me to get additional input on fighting off your competition. 

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