Ten ways to wrong-foot the competition

Ten ways to wrongfoot the competitionUse these strategies to keep your business ahead of immediate rivals

  1. Treat your business to an image makeover. Consider rebranding - a strong brand will differentiate your business from others and helps customers to recognise your firm. Simple steps such as painting your shop front can make your business look modern and inviting compared to your competitors.
  2. Launch a new marketing campaign. Deliver leaflets in your area offering a discount if customers visit before a set date. Remember to ask them to bring the leaflet so you can measure the success of the campaign.
  3. Have a sale. If it's financially viable, stage a sale or bonanza day on certain product or service lines. A snap sale is an excellent way of attracting passing trade and new customers. If new customers like what you offer, they will return.
  4. Hold discount events. These could be an evening or a day where everything is discounted. Advertise the event in the local press, shout loud and proud about it on social media (with relevant hashtags) and hand out flyers to generate interest.
  5. Introduce a loyalty scheme. Offer special discounts and offers on products and services for regular customers. Not only will this encourage existing customers to return, but more customers are likely to become members.
  6. Offer bulk discounts. Put them in place at particular times (Wednesday nights: two pizzas for the price of one) or offer ongoing deals. But check you are making enough money before you ever offer a discount.
  7. Watch your competitors' progress. If they are having great success with a particular product or service, see if you can modify an existing product of your own, or lower the price, to take advantage of the interest.
  8. Launch a new product or service. And plan a marketing campaign around it to give publicity to your business as whole.
  9. Join forces with a competitor against the others. You may both be able to reach corners of the market that were previously inaccessible. Or you might be able to work productively with a business in an entirely different market. Coffee shops and bookshops have long been joining forces for reciprocal benefit.
  10. Take customer service levels to new highs. Customers are more likely to return to a business where they feel valued than to one which may have slightly cheaper products but surly staff.

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