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Riding above competition



Every business faces competition. You might be the only business in town providing that product or service but there will be substitutes for what you are offering. Your clients can also spend their money on something else other than on your product.
The competitive environment has been made worse with the surge in the use of internet. Your competition is no longer the grocery shop next door. You are now competing with businesses from other countries.

Competition could also be another product or service that’s being developed that might overtake yours. So you need to be constantly scanning the environment for possible new competition. To survive you need to adopt strategies that are above the competition.
It’s important that you know who exactly your competition is. There are many sources to establish who your competitor is. You can check in the local business directories, from adverts or press reports or you could search on the Internet for similar products or services.

You can also get information from your customers, or search for existing patented products that are similar to yours. You can also get clues from building planning applications and building work in progress. This can tell you what type of business is coming up.
To enable you to come up with a good strategy you should look at the products or services that the competition is providing and how they market them, the prices charged for the product, how they brand their offering, the numbers and the calibre of staff and who owns the business.
You should also establish who your competitors’ customers are and what they value from your competitor.

Dig deeper by investigating your competitors’ business strategy, that is, the type of customers they’re targeting, new products they’re developing and their financial strength. Armed with such information you will be able to approach your competition from a vantage point.
Evaluate the information you have and see whether there are gaps in the market that you can exploit. In your analysis check what you can learn from the competition, see if there are certain things they are worse than you and how you can leverage on that and what things they are doing the same as you which you need to do better.

If your competitor is doing certain things better than you try to improve on what they are offering. It could be customer service then improve it, or revise your prices and or better still improve your products, or change the way you market your product. Try to add more value to your offering which will appeal to your customers.
Operating a business just feels like a perpetual competition. Your company is always competing with another company for customers. The environment can range from mild competition to hyper-competition. It’s a war zone in the market place. You need to do something extraordinary to rise above the crowd. As an entrepreneur you might find such a situation very exhausting, discouraging and unbearable.

But what you need is audacity, courage, fearlessness or boldness. Courage to take risks is what is needed in such situations.
If your organisation has to stand out from the rest of the pack you need to have an organisation that is adaptable to the environment.
There is a saying, “A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.” As the environment changes an organisation should be able to adapt to the environment. Adaptability ensures survivability.

Nothing is constant except change. The economic environment is constantly changing. Competition is always coming up with even better products.
It’s important that you embrace and welcome change, but you should also be on the driving seat driving that change.
To be above the competition your organisation should be a learning one. As an entrepreneur you should observe what is happening in the world and be prepared to learn new things. An organisation that is not open to new ideas or new inventions will be rendered irrelevant.
As an entrepreneur you should have that urge or desire to go out there to conquer and win. Every opportunity that comes your way should be seized without delay.

A window of opportunity appears once and quickly disappears if you don’t take advantage of it. Be prepared to clinch any valuable opportunity otherwise the competition will take it.
To be above the pack demands patience, determination. Never let discouragement to set in. Delay in achieving your objective might cause discouragement. But when you feel discouraged just let your passion push you. Don’t let any negative talk pull you down.

To outperform your competition learn to think differently. Don’t always flow with the current but be willing to risk your reputation by flowing at times against the tide. In this way you are able to introduce new ideas within your industry which will catapult your organisation to the top.
Remain creative. Endeavour to create your future by being innovative. Challenge your team to be creative and encourage them to take risks.

l Stewart Jakarasi is a business and financial strategist and a lecturer in business strategy and performance management. He provides advisory and guidance on leadership, strategy and execution, preparation of business plans and on how to build and sustain high-performing organisations.

For assistance in implementing some of the concepts discussed in these articles or in strategic planning facilitation please contact him on the following contacts: or +266 62110062 or on WhatsApp +266 58881062

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