In our last article, we started talking about the most important areas that you, as a business owner, need to master in order to position your small business above your competition. Read further to learn some more areas to consider.
Research – Sometimes it helps to be curious. Pay attention to everything that you read or learn from others in the industry, take initiative if something could be of interest to your company, and determine if it is something that can benefit the business. Focus on what the potential cost, commitment, resources and risk would be required to make an idea come to life. Examining what your competition has done in the past or present can be a great guide for challenging yourself. By evaluating the competition’s issues, ideas, or strategies as well as those of your own business, you can better map out the competitive landscape. Conferences, trade shows, and exhibitions offer some of the best ways to learn about what is happening in your industry. These events provide a unique environment for everyone in your industry or with the same interests, which gives you the opportunity to actually network with your competitors. Take advantage of this opportunity, and learn about their current plans – useful for critiquing your own company’s plan.
Get involved in social media – There is an increasingly high demand for social media integration with businesses. In fact, 1&1 recently conducted research that shows that 78 percent of Americans now expect all businesses to be active on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. These are some of the most popular social platforms that people use for company and product information, special promotions, or to have questions answered. In other words, a company’s lack of a presence on these sites can negatively affect their business. Social media is an essential element of any marketing plan.
Develop relationships – Being active within your community and industry (online or otherwise) helps to establish trust in the company and grow potential partnerships. This can be especially beneficial in several ways, such as providing the company with new target markets, giving fresh perspectives and skill sets, and expanding products and services for customers. New relationships also help you analyze your industry’s progress into new niches – which can be a great way to guide your approach to branding and marketing.
Realizing how your company fits into your industry’s changing landscape is a valuable perspective to have as a small business owner. Companies should evolve with their market and capitalize upon areas of competitive advantage. To accomplish this, it takes leadership, creativity, and commitment in equal measures.
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