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December 2011

Facing Your Competition

We recently read an interesting article on newbusiness.co.uk by Christian Nellemann, discussing the challenges of local competition.

Having a competing business open up close to you is a great fear for many business owners, but the fact is that most will have to deal with this at some time. The stereotypical view of the result is of lower sales, reduced profits and even the worry that your business may not survive at all.

This is not always the case! How should you respond to the prospect of another company selling the same thing as you to the same market?

Why the competition has opened up
The first thing you should contemplate is why the competition has arrived? Very few products or services are completely original and impossible to replicate, and as a result successful businesses always have to deal with competition. If you have created a successful business in the market, then others will see the potential too.

Consider the positives
Having a similar business open is not always negative. If another business owner has recognised the same business opportunity as you, is that necessarily a bad thing? In many cases multiple businesses competing can actually increase the size of the market, for example where multiple restaurants open on the same high street. The increased choice and range means more people come, which means that everyone does well.

Refocus on your business distinctive
As every business evolves, naturally the range of products and services increases. But often there is one thing about your business that keeps customers coming back. When competition springs up alongside you, it is a great chance to re-examine what your business's unique selling points are.

Think about customer loyalty
Customers who buy a product or service regularly have a degree of loyalty to their supplier and don’t like to change. This is a natural instinct: it is inconvenient to change and it can often feel disloyal on a personal level. So think about what level of customer loyalty you may have.

Review your marketing
Whether you have street signage, advertising or some other way of promoting your business, when the competition arrives, it is a wonderful chance to take a fresh look at what you have been doing. Sometimes it is a good idea to get a third party to take a look - a fresh pair of eyes can often see what we cannot after many years.

As business owners ourselves, we have first hand experience of running a business and can offer proactive advice from an independent point of view. To talk about your business and possible opportunities or threats contact us today.