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How do I compete?  It’s a simple question that’s asked right across the business world – from small businesses to large. Surprisingly, the answer is also simple if you are prepared to improve your business marketing approach.  (It’s a little tougher when you are an athlete, because to compete on the sporting stage simply means being better than your competition.)

If you want to improve your business marketing, you have to find a point of difference which resonates with an audience who is big enough to provide you with an income.  It really is that simple.  Products and services exist when there is demand.  If you create enough hype through marketing your business you can sometimes eliminate the competition, because everyone now wants what you have to offer and the competition no longer has a point of difference which resonates in the market.

Are you in startup mode or is your product new?

If your business is relatively new, even if it will always be a small bsuiness, you have to be aware of your audiences. For example, there is no point opening up a business selling luxury cars in an area where clearly the people living there do not have the disposable income to pay for it.  Understanding your audience and their needs is critical.  In the same area a second hand car dealership might be a more successful marketing approach for a small business.

Of course sometimes you have to make people ‘need’ your product or service.  In essence that is what marketing is all about.  You don’t need most things you have, but marketing appeals emotionally to you to convince you to make the purchase.  Sticking wiht the car analogy, you don’t need a luxury car, but emotionally you want it.  Again, no matter how good the marketing, when the obstacle is as basic as not having the money to pay for it, then you will not survive.  Check out this link for examples of good branding stories.

Knowing your competiton

Let’s assume now that you have a product or service, which is something the area you are serving can afford and there is a need for it….how do you compete?  There are two types of competition, direct and indirect.  Direct competition is, you are electrician and there are other electrician in the area.  Indirect competition is when you are selling flowers and someone else is selling chocolates and another place is selling small gifts.   Whether the competition is direct or indirect, the answer to how you compete remains the same.  Make your point of difference known.

For example, if we go back to the electrician example, how do you compete?  First of all in a service driven industry, most of your work will come from referrals.  They are hiring the people and more broadly the brand from which the people are under.  If you offer; friendly service, guaranteed promptness, always clean up after yourself, prepared to do the little jobs – you will be able to compete against the next business who may be cheaper, but are not cleaning up after themselves in the same way.  For some, cost will be everything, others will be prepared to pay for a service.  If what you offer on a service level appears to be identical to the next business, remember people do business with people and how you represent yourself is an important point of difference.

My top five tips to make sure your business can compete are:

  1. Make sure you understand who your audience is
  2. Is there a need or can you create a need for your product or service?
  3. Can the audience afford it?
  4. Don’t ever define your business as just an electrician / florist / gift shop / importer etc.  There are always components of your business which are unique.  Highlight those and play into what your audience need and deliver it.
  5. Make sure your branding and the messages you deliver reflect the position you to take in the market to make you stand out. Does the audience want cheap? Do they want to pay for service? – there are many questions to ask yourself so you can carve out a successful niche.

“If you want to compete, know your audience, meet a need and deliver it uniquely.”

“Bonus tip:  See if you can align with a charity…read more here.”