The following excerpt is from the article, How To Distinguish Your Business From The Competition, which was written by Yosef Martin, founder and President of Merchandize Liquidators, and published on Forbes.com. Although the article refers to entrepreneurs, it can offer great insight into identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your competition as a college store, as well. Take a look at three of the beginning steps Martin suggests taking below, and then view the full article for additional information.
When envisioning and establishing my business, I focused on both short- and long-term goals. Market competition can create a battleground and my goal was to win the war. This mindset might be controversial, but many businesses have failed because they did not capitalize on their competitors’ faults. I built my business from modest beginnings to achieve multimillion-dollar revenues by distinguishing my venture from others like it. Here’s how:
- Analyze the industry. Studying the competition allows you to find weaknesses in their organizations. Begin by subscribing to their newsletters. Approach a competitor as an interested customer so you can see what its sales and customer service processes are like. I was able to gain invaluable information by simply buying a product and noting the logistics of the sales process. You can take it further and visiting the business’ location, which allows you to speak to managers or even the owner. To your benefit, many of these leaders will brag about how they started their businesses — or their own accomplishments. Take note and begin to brainstorm ideas for setting your business apart.
- Outshine the competition. Now that you’ve gained knowledge about your competitors, put it to use. Create a more professional, user-friendly website. If applicable, outbid your competitors and secure exclusive contracts with your clients. Work to take your competitors out of the picture. By limiting their market appeal, you can increase your own. Your goal is to provide the most effective and efficient service or product from the start so customers recognize the quality of your company as well as its integrity.
- Focus on customer service. Do this by assembling the best team possible. After all, your business is only as good as your employees — they’re the face of your company. Positive and resourceful customer service helps set your venture apart at the outset, since larger companies are simply not as hungry for new customers. Aim to create the best shopping experience for your customers and do not compromise on the quality of your employees. Seek out intelligent and independent individuals who share your passion and vision. Regular communication about business priorities and strategies is crucial to professional and monetary growth.
While a magic formula to benefit from the competition’s weaknesses — and boost your business — doesn’t exist, conducting extensive research is the key to see how your business can better connect with customers. Learn the final phases suggested by Martin by viewing his full article.