Developing a Small Business: Competitive Advantage Approaches

A competitive advantage is critical to the success of your business. Here's how to find yours.

By making your business distinctly different from others, you also prevent it from stagnating. You need to constantly improve your services in order to attract more customers while retaining
existing ones.

Find Out Your Customers’ Needs

When developing your business by differentiation, you need to look at the business from a customer’s perspective. Get to know your customers needs which are currently not being met. Really understanding your customers, including your prospective buyers, is vitally important. Ask your customers; this can be the best way of getting essential information.

Chat rooms and online forum discussions can be an easy and quick source of information from prospects and customers. You could also devise a simple questionnaire or survey in order to get feedback on issues and ideas related to your business. Talk to your current clients and openly and honestly discuss key issues with them. Develop a strong relationship where suggestions and ideas can be freely shared.

Pay heed to what your customers have to say. Different and new ideas can be good for your business and can really help your business expand. Sometimes even a simple and small change can result considerably increased profits, especially if it meets the needs of your customers.

Make an Analysis of the Competition

In order to create a competitive advantage over your competition, it is important for your business to be credible and memorable. You want your prospective customers to understand clearly and quickly, exactly what you are about and what it is that separates you from the competitors. You can go about doing this by analyzing your competitors. Find out who your main competitors are in your business’ industry and what line of products each competitor has to offer.

Also, get to know what particular strengths each of your main competitors may have and how your products compare to theirs. Are they providing the same products or slightly different? What is different? Knowing information about your competitors will help you compete against them effectively.

Use Creative Methods to Differentiate your Product

Include features which diverge from the usual characteristics in your industry. By focusing on features that meet your customers’ requirements, you will be able to persuade them to pick your product over others. While increasing the value of your product is important, it is of more significance to ensure that your customers are aware of the increase in value. The harder it is for your competitors to imitate your ideas, the more of a competitive edge you have over them.

The positioning of your product will work well when there are a number of things that distinguish it and there are many ways in which your customer can use your product.

Deviate from the norms in your industry by adopting bolder approaches of doing business. Direct your attention to some aspect of your business that you think you can excel at uniquely. Here are some examples of benefits and values you can offer your customers: better service, greater availability of products, better quality, superior performance, better durability, superior technology, lower price, faster delivery, better customer service, guaranteed satisfaction, better image, and higher prestige.

Developing your small business and continuing to have a competitive advantage is an ongoing process. The business environment is constantly changing. It is important to adapt to it and think of innovative ways to stay ahead.

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