What sets you apart from your competition? Learn how to get a competitive advantage with this course. Learn how to brand, study your competition, identify customers and their preferences, create pricing strategies and much more. Leverage the uniqueness of your business to create a real competitive advantage.
Duration of the course: 00:30:00
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1.3 Course Topics
This course will discuss four areas that address why your business needs to have competitive advantage and how to develop a winning strategy to ensure competitive advantage in the market. This course helps in:
• Identifying the challenges
• Building a strategy
• Implementing your strategy, and
• Remaining unique
Numerous additional resources are identified to assist you. Visit the Resource icon in the course player or locate additional tools, templates, and mentors on SBA.gov once you finish the course.
Let’s get started!
Keeping your eye on the competition helps you:
• Price products competitively,
• Gauge how your competitors are reacting to market forces, so you can adjust accordingly, and
• Understand where you stand in the online search rankings compared to your competitors.
But how do you ensure that your business has a competitive advantage that makes the customers choose your products or services over many other businesses? Let’s find out. Determining Your Financial Needs
Before everything, you need a good brand. A great product or first-class service is seldom enough to sustain a lasting impression among your customers. In today’s competitive market, a great branding strategy will help ensure that customers remember your business as the ―go-to source for their needs.
To build a good brand, first, you need to find answers to the following questions:
• What makes you unique?
• Will you be consistent?
• What is your niche?
• Who are you?
• How strong will your presence be on social media?
• What kind of reputation do you want? Let’s look at each of these in detail.
1.6 What Makes You Unique?
You need to identify what defines your business in the minds of consumers and what differentiates it from others providing the same products or services in your target market.
Give customers something to remember. There will undoubtedly always be competition. Show your customers reasons to come back to you.
1.7 Will You Be Consistent?
You have to be consistent so that the customer can spot you immediately. Here are a few tips to present a consistent image to your customers.
• Make sure to convey the same message in all your advertising and marketing.
• Use professionally designed branding.
• Use the same visual brand for your logo, color scheme, and style in every interaction with the public so that you look familiar to your customers.
1.8 What Is Your Niche?
Creating a niche for your business is essential for success. Often, you can identify a niche based on your own market knowledge, but it can also be helpful to conduct a market survey with potential customers to uncover unfulfilled needs and untapped opportunities. During your research process, identify:
• The areas in which your competitors are well established
• The areas your competitors are ignoring, and
• Potential opportunities for your business
Remember, you cannot make everyone love you, but you can make some people love you. Make sure you target the right customers and provide them with the right solutions.
1.9 Who Are You?
Be sure to understand what makes your business unique and what image of your business you want to present to the customers.
It is crucial that first you decide who you are and present that same image to your customers. While advertising your brand image, consider the following:
• Be transparent in your dealings
• Connect with people in every possible way—understand their needs rather than just giving them boring basics, and
• Be authentic
1.10 How Strong Will Your Presence Be on Social Media?
Social media has taken over most conversations in the realm of communications and marketing. The technology provides you an opportunity to connect with your customers more closely than ever before.
People want access to information about your business. Social media is a good way to entice customers through promotions and other marketing methods, engage them, and stay on the forefront of their minds. You can use social media often, but be creative and have something to add to the social media conversation beyond the standard advertisement plug.
1.11 What Kind of Reputation Do You Want?
A bad reputation can be a big problem for small businesses. As more people look to the Internet to find reviews, feedback, and information, the need for effective reputation management is becoming a pressing issue for many small businesses.
People will talk about you, but you can help shape what they say. Therefore, make your customers feel valued; never mislead them with false claims or advertisements.
Remember, reputation can make or break a small business.
1.12 Memorable Brands
Have you ever thought about why the top brands are so popular and successful? Analyzing the factors that make these brands popular will help you create a successful brand.
1.13 Know Your Competition
Knowing your competition is a key aspect of gaining competitive advantage. As a business owner, you want a strategy, product, or experience that is set apart from others. Take the time to examine the following attributes of other businesses up-front:
• Mission statement
• Strengths or weaknesses
• Customer base
• Profit margins
• Promotional and marketing strategies
• Current offerings, and
1.14 Where To Research
Where should you research to find out the right information about the market and your competition?
You can assess your competitors based on the employees, trade shows, conventions, suppliers or distributers, stock market analyses, government filings, demographic or competitive reports, newspaper, magazines, or blogs, trade publications, Web sites, and customers.
You can also visit various shops or the competitor yourself to find out how they are doing business.
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