When you start a business, you must do your research. Similarly, when you’re looking to grow your business, you’ve also got to do lots of research. As the age old saying goes, research is the key!
So with all of this research in mind, how do you set your business apart from your competitors? Being a successful business owner means you must be prepared and constantly on the look out for new opportunities, better processes and ways in which you can enhance your offer to stand out from the crowd.
Quality, quality, quality
When it comes to good and competitive business, quality needs to be at the forefront of everything you do; quality of product, quality of service and quality of process.
There is no point having exceptional customer service if your product is inferior, similarly there is no point in having a quality product if your process of purchasing the product is long and unnecessary. Surpassing your competitor comes down to having the whole package; a high quality and in demand product, accompanied with knowledgeable and friendly customer service with a purchasing process that is easy and time efficient.
Once you’ve mastered these three things, you’re well on your way to being the stand out.
Play customer for a day
The saying is true; you cannot understand a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes, and same goes with business – you cannot fully understand your customer until you’ve experienced your business the way they do.
Set yourself a challenge to experience the ins and outs of your business with fresh eyes; ring the phone number, Google your website, test the email address and walk in through your customer entrance. What is your very first impression? Is information easy to find? Was customer service friendly? Are there things you can improve?
Where you can, do the same for your competition to see what they’ve implemented and determine their unique competitive edge. Improving your customer’s first impression of your business will enable you to kick off the relationship right, the first time.
Sometimes in business we become so busy and focused on what is happening right in front of us that we forget the importance of networking and using the resources available to us.
Take the opportunity to network; attend industry functions and events, connect with like-minded business professionals on LinkedIn and make an effort to maintain these relationships. Having contacts across the field of business is a very valuable asset and can often help initiate new business ideas and functionalities that assist in your business success.
Prepare and invest
Whilst some business professionals focus on the here and now, successful business professionals prepare for the future and invest in long-term achievements.
For more businesses, the largest operating cost is staffing. Value your team by investing in their career development and the role they play in future of the business; send your staff to training, get them involved in brainstorming sessions, and value their input into the business.
By investing time and money now to improve elements of your business, you’re preparing for success in the future.
Back your brand
You would have heard a thousand times, “live and breathe your brand” and nothing could be closer to the truth. As the business owner it is important that you reflect your brand in everything you do, from how you act in the office to how your hold yourself outside the office.
Whilst reputation is key, believing in your product and your brand is just as important. Back the product or service you are promoting and communicate this widely. Ensure you live by example, enabling your customers and staff to see how committed you are to the company and your offering, and encourage them to do the same.
Karen Westwood is an independent business owner with The Body Shop At Home specialising in offering VIP spa experiences at home. The Body Shop At Home provides tailored indulgent treatments and demonstrations designed to leave your skin rejuvenated and feeling beautiful. For more information on The Body Shop At Home, please visit http://www.thebodyshop.com.au/TheBodyShopAtHome.aspx