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A little competition can be a healthy thing. It can also be both costly and disastrous if you aren’t up to par with others in your particular business or industry. How you handle competition can be a direct link to the success or the failure of your company. You can, however, significantly increase your chances of coming out on top by creating a competitive edge.
Having a competitive edge means possessing an advantage over your competition. This does not take the luck of the Irish, but rather some solid strategic planning. Before you can accurately identify your competition, it’s crucial to first define and analyze your target market. What are you selling and to whom? Next, make a list of those companies trying to do the same. What are their strengths and weaknesses? Their strategies and goals? How do they draw in customers? What, if anything, makes them stand out from the pack?
If you don’t have this vital information, get it quickly. You shouldn’t live in awe of your competition, nor should you fear them, but you must find out who they are and what makes them attractive to current and potential customers. Assessing your competitors openly and honestly will play a key role in helping you develop a competitive edge.
Remember, winning companies aren’t successful by accident, though often it may seem that way. A closer look usually reveals that most have sized up their target markets and zeroed in on a unique approach to meet their customers’ needs, values and expectations. Through important considerations like location, product, services and product features, they have somehow found a fresh spin, a new way to offer buying incentives that similar companies either can’t or don’t offer.
Once you have developed a competitive edge, maintaining it will be a daily challenge. It will require you to look into your crystal ball and attempt to forecast where the trends and changes in your industry will come from, and what your company can do to stay ahead of the game. It will demand that you continuously track your competitors and their future plans. You will also need to recognize that through the course of time your customers’ needs may change due to a variety of circumstances. Your company must be flexible and willing to change as well.
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