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How to Handle Competition in Startups

competition

Every entrepreneur knows that they will encounter competition as they conduct business. This is evident for both selling products online or in a store along the street.  Likely other companies are offering similar goods or services. For that reason, you should incorporate a strategy of how you will handle competition in your startups.

Read 10 tips on how you can beat the competition in the business environment.

1.   Understand the Competition

Conduct thorough research on your target market to understand your customers and the businesses offering similar products and services. Understand the strategy your competitors are using to convert their customers, the unique angle they are using to tell their story, and look at what they do and don’t.

Focus on what they don’t do and then try to fill that gap in the market. Imitate what Xerox and Canon did in the 1980s. Both businesses were supplying copies; however, Canon’s price was extremely low because it had implemented new innovation that had reduced the cost of production.

Therefore, Xerox copied that strategy and started to offer copiers at lower prices. For that reason, market research helped Xerox to understand its competitor and adjust accordingly.

2.   Understand Your Customers

Most entrepreneurs don’t have adequate data about their target market; thus, they are not able to build effective marketing campaigns. You need to understand your customers’ purchasing patterns. Gather other information about your target market in order to refine your marketing plans and build a relationship with your customers.

On the other hand, most companies overlook the power of data, yet, this is the information that they can use in forecasting demand. Thus, a startup can use Facebook analytics to study factors that trigger their purchasing habits.

3.   Differentiate your Products and Services

Differentiate your offerings so that you can learn about your competitors. Are your products from ethical sourcing? Are your prices lower, higher, or at par with your competitors? How is the quality as compared to the competitors?

Differentiation will help you to provide superior value in your target market at a reasonable price

4.   Branding

Branding can effectively reinforce your message. It helps the company to stand out and prove to your potential customer that you have the right solution. Branding gives you a competitive advantage because it makes your business better than your competitors in the mind of your customers.

Therefore, use a logo or a name and unique packaging of your products. Branding gives your company voice, distinct image, and personality that differentiate you from your competitors. It helps your customers to remember your products whenever they have a particular need. For instance, when you think about a soft drink, Coca Cola comes in your mind, when you think about social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram comes to your mind. These brands are differentiated; thus, every startup should make sure it’s memorable and familiar to the audience.

5.   Target New Markets

Expand to other areas once you lock the first market. You will learn how to handle competitors as you grow to other markets. For instance, if you are targeting a specific demographic of 20 – 30 years with your motorbikes, test the waters with different age groups like below 20 years.

You can target women with your products as well. New markets may grow your business in a faster way than the current target. However, ensure that your company is ready for the fresh market before implementing the strategy.

6.   Retain Your Existing Customers

Entering new markets can be exciting because they increase the market base, sales, and revenues. Thus most companies forget the existing customers because they believe that they have won them. On the other hand, a startup should treat both new and current customers equally. 

Thus, a company should not forget the already loyal customers when they diversify their market options. That means an entrepreneur should continuously refine the current market to sustain it and prevent competitors from wowing your customers.

7.   Take Advantage of Partnership Opportunities

The business environment has several partnership opportunities because several entrepreneurs are seeking a new market or demographic. Therefore, your business can fight competition by partnering with big brands that are already established in the market and have a huge market share.

However, it would be best if you considered your company’s needs before entering into any partnership. Learn from the partnership between Starbucks and Earthwatch that happened in 2001. The main objective of this partnership was to help Starbucks increase its employee’s engagement, expose them to scientific research, and help the company to develop an ethical approach towards coffee. On the other hand, Earthwatch wanted to spread scientific and sustainable practices.

8.   Invest In Your Team

Your employees are your biggest asset that should be taken care of besides your products. Thus even if your products are right and there is no support from your team, then your competitors will always dominate the market. Keep your team motivated and satisfied to keep them productive. You can do this by listening to them, involving them when developing products and making decisions about them.

9.   Continuous Innovation

Use modern technology to stay on top of your competitors. Allow your team to be creative and innovative in order to create new ways of marketing your products in the target market. This will keep your customers interested in company products. Include innovation in your company policy and align your culture accordingly.

10.  Participate in Community Initiatives

Engaging in civic activities will help you to develop a competitive business strategy. The activities and initiatives will help you build genuine relationships in the location of your business. Word of mouth is one of the cheapest and most effective means of advertising your business. Therefore you can combat competition in your target market by being active and visible in your local area.

Conclusion

Competition is important in the business world because it helps entrepreneurs to innovate and offer products and services that meet the requirements in the target market. However, you can stand out by knowing your competitors, customers, and investing in your workforce. The above 10 tips will help you to build strong relationships with your new and existing customers and will help them to remain loyal to your business.

I'm a passionate and full-time blogger. I love writing about startups, how they can access key resources, avoid legal mistakes, respond to questions from angel investors as well as the reality check for startups. Continue reading my articles for more insight.

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