Stand out from the competition with these small business success secrets

Making sure customers can quickly reach out to you on your website is a key part of good service.

By Henry Brown

For your small business to rise above the competition and achieve success, you are going to have work smarter as well as just harder. So read on for some sound suggestions on what you can do to ensure your company is head and shoulders above the competition.

Do tweak your customer service

If you want to stand out from the competition in your sector, you need to ensure that it’s not just your product that is top notch. Your customer service has to be up there as well. This can be problematic for smaller companies, as they don’t always have access to as many resources as larger ones when it comes to customer service. However, it’s not impossible.

In fact, you can improve your customer service by doing some very minor things that can actually have a huge effect. For one, why not aim to get all orders processed and shipped within two days or less. Quick shipping is a big boon for many customers these days, especially when ordering online.

Also, providing help and support at each stage of the buying process is something that can be done relatively cheaply, but will also have a positive effect on your customer service.

Consider for one moment that a consumer has the option of buying from your competitor and you, what is most likely to make them come to you, apart from the price? Help in choosing the right item, and continued support with any issue or question they might have in setting it up and using it.

To do this ensure you have a customer service email clearly displayed on your site. As well as offering the option of a chat box that customers can access before their purchase.

Efficiency is king

Next, to succeed over your competition, you need to get a handle on efficiency within your company. This might not be as complicated as it sounds either, because as a smaller company you will have fewer employees to audit and then to disseminate new processes to.

It’s a cliché but it’s true that in business time really is money and if you are wasting it, it’s as good as throwing money down the drain. But by being more efficient in your workflow processes, you will be able to keep your prices down, savings that you can pass on to the customer, making you much more competitively priced than others on the market.

Do know thine enemy

This is old advice, so old that it came from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, but it doesn’t mean it’s not spot on when it comes to small business success.

In fact, knowing your enemy is something that can definitely give you the edge over your competition in the marketplace. But how exactly can you gather and make sense of the information on your competitors that you need?

Well, first, you can do you own research. Get hold of your competitor’s products. Look at their packing; use their items. See what you really think about them, and not just with those rose-tinted spectacles on. But try and give them a truly objective evaluation. If their product is better than yours; work out why. Then work out how you can raise your own standards to compete with this.

Once you have completed this initial stage, you can do a full brand competitive analysis, as this can go into more detail, not just about the things they are selling but also their ethos, facilities, marketing strategy, and social media presence. With this information, you will have a much more robust picture of who you are going up against…something that can inform your decision-making and business strategy, enabling you to stay relevant in the marketplace.

Do consider your price point

Lastly, to truly be head and shoulders above the competition you must consider your price point carefully. Yes, customers like value. Or do they? In fact, what they are really like is perceived value, something that is quite different.

Remember that buying a product isn’t just an exchange of money for goods, but it’s also about an emotional exchange where the purchaser feels they have got a little closer to the life they aspire to.

For them to achieve this feeling, one that encourages them to buy, the price point of the item cannot be too low. By pricing low you run this risk of compromising the perceived value of the product. That is why you may wish to set your price at a level similar to the competition instead of getting into a price struggle, as this can lead to disaster for everyone.

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Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

 

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