If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for help. You might have a friend or family member that’s considering starting a business, but they don’t know where to start. Or maybe you want to know if it’s even worth starting your own business. Even if you don’t currently have a business idea in the works, chances are good that you’ll need to acquire some new skills if you decide to take on your own company. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to guide you through the process of launching your new venture and making sure it turns out right the first time. When I speak with aspiring small business owners, especially those just beginning their own businesses, I often ask them the same question: What do you know that your competitors don’t? The best way to answer this question is by breaking down what each of the key components of your company represents and sets it apart from its competitors. Competencies are what make a business stand out from its competitors. So without further ado…
What do you have that your competitors don’t?
You know more than the competition. This one is pretty self-explanatory. You know more than anyone, even your competitors, about your niche, what customers want, and how to get it. You may not know everything that your competitors do, or how they do it, but you certainly know more than they do. You can’t predict how your competitors will respond to your products or service, or how your business model will fare in the long run. But one thing’s for sure: They won’t be able to keep up with you in terms of your market share. You also know more about your customers than your competitors do. This one is critical. You’ve heard the old adage that “a business is only as successful as the people who buy from it,” and while it’s certainly true that customers’ sentiment plays a large factor in whether or not they make purchases from a company, it’s also helpful to know exactly who you’re trying to reach. Knowing your customers’ motivations, wants, and needs not only help you sell more products; it’ll give you a better sense of who you’re trying to build your customer base around. You can’t assume, for example, that every new customer will simply want to become a repeat customer. That’s not how the business works. You need to know your customers’ motives, which will help you determine if they’re truly interested in your products or services or if they’re just looking for an easy way to make money. In short, your competitors may not know as much as you about your customers, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a clue what’s what based on what they have going on the front end of their business. Your customers are the ones who are going to make or break your company, after all, so it’s important to know who they are and what they want.
You know more than the competition
As I mentioned above, knowledge is power. It’s one of the main reasons we engage in competitive study and competitive analysis. You can’t know everything there is to know about your competition, but you can certainly know enough about them to outpace them. When you know more about your competition’s products or services than they do, you’re in a good position to offer something that’s new and innovative. This can help you gain a competitive advantage over your competitor, or even turn you into a competitor if you choose to expand your business in the future. For example, if you’re a metal fabricator, you know more about the types of metal that are used in various construction projects than your competitors do. As a result, you can offer custom made products to clients that require a certain type of metal, or you can offer products that use less-known types of metal. This knowledge advantage can help you build a more loyal customer base, and even earn more sales.
You know more about your customers than your competitors do.
Lastly, you know more about your customers than your competitors do. This one is super relevant to the metal fabricator scenario above. If your competitor’s products use metal, and you offer a product that’s made of different types of fabric, you’ve got an advantage. This advantage doesn’t just help you sell more; it can also help you stay profitable if your competitor’s model is successful. If you use your knowledge advantage to its full potential, you may find that your product is so popular that it outsells your competitor’s products by a large margin. In this case, your advantage is that much more pronounced because you’ve been around longer.
According to Entrepreneurship U, the most important thing you can do is understand yourself better. This means understanding why you do what you do, and understanding how your business could be better off without you sitting in the C-suite. These are just a few examples of how knowing your competitors’ competencies can help you better position your business for success. Understanding your own competencies is the key to success, and luckily, it’s relatively easy to do once you get started.