This is a guest post by Lois Sapare.
You might be a hardworking entrepreneur who has the qualities and resources to successfully build a startup, but who’s to say your business won’t face its demise when strong competitors enter the market? Many startups have failed in the past because they did not pay enough attention to their competitors. In order to survive in the cutthroat business landscape and protect your business from flopping, a smart entrepreneur should constantly be on the lookout and finding leverage to stay ahead in the game.
Invest Time In Research
As an entrepreneur, you must know the importance of market research in gaining an advantage over your competitors. You can’t go into your business blindly and expect people to buy your products without any basis and research conducted beforehand. To ensure the success of your business, make sure you’ve gained enough knowledge about your competitors and target market to begin with. Start with finding everything you can about your competitors. What are they selling? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Where are they located? What is it about them that make customers choose them over you?
Analyze your target market. Perform a thorough target market analysis and conduct your research further from there. Also try to get to know them on a personal level. Find out their common habits and tendencies. What do they care about? Is there a prevailing problem that you can offer a solution to?
Gaining competitor knowledge will help you find out which areas you need to focus on improving and let you know what you can do to differentiate your brand from them. Meanwhile, understanding your target market would help you determine how you could develop your products accordingly and gain competitive advantage.
One of the most common reasons most startups flop is because they fail to embrace innovation and prefer to stay in their comfort zones. We all know that staying in the same place won’t take your business any further. The market and technologies are ever-evolving, and for your business to keep up, your startup should continually adapt to these changes. However, it’s not enough to just go wherever else is going and do whatever they’re doing. Always think ahead of everyone else and generate new ideas or improve on existing ones. Do something different and give prospective customers a reason to choose you over your competitors.
An example of a business that collapsed because it failed to embrace innovation is Blockbuster, one of the largest video rental companies and biggest household names during the 80s until it ceased its operations in 2013. By then, Blockbuster has already replaced its CEO five times because they all had different visions for the company and each one failed miserably. The last CEO removed the company’s proposed internet efforts, so online streaming was taken out of the picture.
At the time, Netflix–a popular video streaming service today–and a couple of other companies were only at their infancy and provided DVD postal services and online streaming services. People realized the convenience of having their movies delivered right at their doorsteps and having them streamed directly while they’re at their couches. However, Blockbuster failed to realize this and kept their old-fashioned brick-and-mortar stores. By failing to keep up with the digital innovation during their time, Blockbuster missed a great opportunity to lead its industry in the market and Netflix took over and continues to do so.
Know When To Ask For Help
Maintaining a startup is a tedious process. You might think you can manage everything alone, but soon enough your responsibilities will pile up and you might end up neglecting other aspects of your business. Don’t wait for this to happen. Know when to ask for help. You can always outsource other elements or ask for professional help and advice from consultancy services. Getting professional help would give you more time to focus on other aspects of your business. They can also help you determine which direction your business should be taking and suggest what you can do to improve it. This will require an increase in your expenses, but it will be worth it if it means you’d get to ensure the future of your business.
Always Be On The Lookout
You already have information about your competitors and your target market, but your research shouldn’t stop there. Keep monitoring your competitors’ social media accounts and websites to stay updated if they release new products or change their pricing. Don’t forget to also monitor changes in the market. Customers’ preferences evolve too. Are there new trends that customers are buying into? Make sure you don’t stay behind and keep releasing outdated products that customers don’t want anymore.
No matter what industry your business is in, competition is inevitable. However, instead of seeing rivals as threats and discouragements, use the competition as motivation and see it as an opportunity to do even better instead. Don’t obsess over them, but also don’t ignore them. Keep in mind that there will be businesses producing the same ideas or products as yours. You just have to be mindful, forward-thinking, and keep coming up with even better ideas and ways to do things so you don’t have to worry about your customers choosing your rivals over you.
Author Bio: Lois Sapare is an editor at Scoopfed. She is a former student journalist with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. When she’s not writing content on a variety of topics, you can find her watching psych thriller films or keeping up with the latest buzz in the tech world.