While you might have been one of few players in your niche several years ago, you’re finding it more challenging to fight for business in a crowded market. There are more competitors to stand out against, and others might win out simply because they’re cheaper. Don’t fret if you want to start a business and the market is saturated. The good news is that this indicates that your products or services are in demand. If no one wanted what you were selling, you wouldn’t be seeing new companies entering the space. All you have to do is determine how to differentiate yourself so that your business ends up on top.
First, Stay on Top of Changes
If there are a healthy number of competitors in your industry, chances are there are rapid trends happening. You can’t afford to ignore these, otherwise your market share could shrink. If companies in your field are using new technology to provide more value to customers, then you better adopt that technology too.
Just look at Kodak and how it was slow to hop on the digital camera bandwagon. The company suffered hugely for not rolling with the times, and the brand is no longer a top-tier brand when it comes to cameras and camera supplies. Use this as a cautionary tale, and make sure you’re always flexible to adapt.
Find Your Value-Add
If there are 20 companies that offer exactly the same products or services that you do, why would a customer choose your brand over the others? Competing on price is never a good way to win business, so you should find other ways to give people reason to buy from you.
Give them more value than they get elsewhere. That might mean that you offer free customer support with a software subscription. Or a free product with purchase. Know what your customers value, and provide that included with purchase.
Look for Problems to Solve
I don’t care how great your products are currently, there’s always room for improvement. And the same goes for an industry as a whole. Think about cell phone companies. Nearly everyone has a complaint about companies they’ve gotten service from. We all have a list of “this is the problem we want fixed” for that industry. Too bad they’re not listening.
Pay attention to what your own customers say, and listen on social media to get gripes from people in general. This is also a great opportunity for you to respond to people’s concerns through content marketing. If you write content about those issues and then point out how your company solves them, you’ll attract people who have been disgruntled with the competition.
Focus on Marketing
Speaking of marketing, it’s a great asset in attracting people to your brand. If done right, content marketing can provide value (see above) and solve problems. You can establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. How many of your competitors are doing that? Maybe a lot, and maybe none.
Being diligent about creating content, interacting with your network on social media, and delivering useful and well-targeted emails can make the difference between you and your competitors. People want relationships with brands like yours. If you deliver what they’re looking for in the form of great content and resources, you’ll start to foster those relationships.
How can you stand out in a sea of competition? By doing things differently. There are different approaches to running a business, and whether it’s in your products or the customer service you offer, you have to differentiate your brand.
Maybe your products are of a better quality than the competition, and customers don’t mind paying more for them. Maybe you offer stellar customer service, including instant messaging and Twitter support. Perhaps you source only organic and eco-friendly materials for your products. If you’re a small business, you may want to legitimize yourself by incorporating or forming an LLC to stand out from others. Take a look at your top competitors and see what’s missing. Listen to your customers to find out what they want and are willing to pay for. Use this information to give customers something they can’t get anywhere else.
Having competition isn’t the end of the world. It just means you’ll have to work harder to get (and keep) your piece of the pie. But trust me: working harder will make you a better and more successful business owner. If you’re truly passionate about what you do, a little hard work won’t scare you off.