Competition can be scary. Whether you’re worried about a rival store opening down the street or you’re in an emerging industry watching other start-ups launch with a new twist, it’s hard to make sure you’re in the lead. But while competition might be stressful, it can also help you make your business better.
Even if you don’t have any direct competition today, thinking about what that competition might bring to your market is a great way to stay on top of your game. What are you doing to continuously improve your business? What keeps your customers coming back? What makes you unique? If someone did open a rival shop, what would they offer? Is that something you could offer without sacrificing your current business strengths?
If you own a business and you haven’t had time to ask these big picture questions, chances are good that you are working IN your business instead of ON your business. Let this be your wake-up call! You have to get out of the day-to-day operations of business to be able to think strategically – and that starts with having systems and a team you can trust to run the business and handle operations without involving you in every decision. This is something your local Growth Coach can help you work through.
Once you’re able to step back and see the big picture of your business, start looking for your company’s weaknesses, strengths and opportunities.
Weaknesses: It’s hard to talk about the things that are holding you (or your business) back. From customer service problems to bad online reviews to sub-par products, finding the things that are keeping you from building a loyal customer base or bringing in new customers is the first step in addressing your weaknesses. Start by reading the online reviews of your business, talking to your staff, observing the operations of the business from afar and, if possible, talking to or surveying your customers. Once you identify the issues, build a plan for making improvements and be patient – change takes time.
Strengths: As you focus on improving those weaknesses it’s easy to lose sight of your strengths. Don’t spread yourself or your staff too thin to keep doing whatever it is you do best. If you have the best cold brew in town, don’t sacrifice it to spend time making better lattes. Find ways to do both, even if it’s a gradual change. Or, if you can’t make better lattes, don’t sell them at all. Your current loyal customers likely keep coming back for whatever it is you do best and it’s important to keep them happy.
Opportunities: Predicting the competition can be tough, but as you work toward continuous improvement, it’s important to anticipate the needs of your customers and research what your competition might be looking to offer next. You can’t be the first to do everything, but staying on top of industry trends and making sure you’re pursuing the opportunities that make sense can help you stay relevant. Remember to talk to your staff frequently – they often have their ears closer to the ground that you do!
Helping your business be its best starts with being able to step back and look at your business without getting pulled into the day-to-day operations. If you need help getting there, The Growth Coach can help. Find your local coach online at https://www.thegrowthcoach.com/find-a-coach.