How To Protect Your Business from Business Competitors

  Nik Oliva   None

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You have many challenges as a small business owner. And one of them is your competitors. Your competitors are out there and hungry for your customers. In many industries the difference among businesses is not very large. If you want to stay at the top of your field, it’s important to keep a close eye on what your competitors are doing. Understanding them gets you one step closer to knowing how to deliver better value to your customers and defining your niche.

Who are your competitors?

Identifying your competitors is important before you finalize your decision about which business category and market segment to compete in.

Generally, your competitors can be identified as those companies that offer similar products or services to the same customers at similar prices. These can be either direct or indirect competitors. That is why it’s important to consider all types of competition when understanding your competitors to ensure that you have the edge over others in your industry.

For example, Qualcomm identifies Samsung Electronics Co as a major or direct competitor for electronic chips used in smartphones, laptop and tablet. However, they also face competition from companies that offer different products, but ones that supply the same service or capability, i.e.  indirect competitors which are companies like Microsoft who offer devices with chip as an integrated feature.  The intensity of that competition, whether direct or indirect, will affect the overall potential for success of your business. The point of this is to consider your business moves carefully, from the buyer’s point of view, all the alternatives that there are to purchasing from you. Knowing that, you can attempt to make sure that your business provides advantages over your competitors, beginning with those who are in the most directly similar to you.

Ever wonder what your competitors are up to?

What is your company doing, and what are your competitors doing? Knowledge, as they say, is power, importantly when it comes to knowing what your competitors are up to. Knowing what your competitors are doing is an important part of running a successful business. It begins with a rigorous apples-to-apples evaluation of how your organization performs relative to one or more of your rivals.

It’s always essential to know where you stand in relation to your competition. You can learn what to do from them, what not to do, and most importantly, how you can differentiate yourself from your fellow competition and carve out your own niche. If you don’t know your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, you can’t differentiate yourself and highlight your strengths in your marketing. Which means prospects will have no reason to buy from you instead of a competitor.

Do you know what your business competitors are doing to win over customers?

What sort of things? That’s very difficult to predict. It could be irrelevant stuff you don’t have to worry about, but maybe they’re quietly launching a new product or service that is so awesome it will ruin your business. For instance, your competitors will either make a similar product in a way that makes it superior to yours, or they will undercut you on price and offer better value to the customer.

There are almost always competitors, or at least there soon will be if your business is successful. That’s not a good idea in today’s competitive market when your rivals could well be keeping their eyes on you and planning how to steal a share of your business. This is why differentiation between your brand and everyone else’s is incredibly important.

Today’s overabundance of information makes this important analysis much easier. Thankfully, there’s this thing called the internet. One of the great things about the internet is that it’s relatively easy to spy on your competitors. Now you can collect data legally and ethically and through a plethora of sources available to you. And by utilizing it you can keep track of what your competitors are up to.

How do you track their business strategy without them finding out?

While it might seem unfair given everything else you need to keep on top of in building up your business, you might want to consider devoting the time and energy into keeping tabs on your competition. Competition Research is a great way to make sure you are always offering the best product and services and a great way to get marketing ideas. Investing a little bit of time into competitive research can give you valuable intel about your rivals, their position in the market, and their strengths and weaknesses.

Competitive research, also known as competitive intelligence (CI) “is the gathering of publicly-available information about an enterprise’s competitors and the use of that information to gain a business advantage. The goals of competitive intelligence include discerning potential business risks and opportunities and enabling faster reaction to competitors’ actions and events.

Publicly-available information, in this context, refers to any information that can be legally obtained, rather than information that the business being investigated offers freely. Sources of publicly available information include — among a great number of other possibilities — company directories, legal filings and documentation from government agencies and regulatory bodies.”-TechTarget

Researching competing businesses to create a competitor profile will help you to see gaps in the market that your business can meet. It allows you to understand a range of key information about their business, including what prices they charge for their products, where they find their customers and how they advertise. For example, if your competitors do not have an online presence, you might be able to attract customers by offering your products and services online.

Understanding your competitors will also help you to develop a better understanding of your customers. Not only will you gain a better understanding of your market, but you’ll also be able to forecast trends in your industry, understand your competitors’ offerings, stay updated on competitive pricing, and find and target new customers. You can learn the reasons that customers buy from competitors as well as understanding what strategies the competition use to market to these people.

 

How To Create A Customer Personas To Your Business

  Nik Oliva   None

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Today’s consumers are demanding more from businesses. Many of them expect products, services, and information that are timely and fulfilling to their specific needs and desires.

For many years’ businesses develop and market products based on market segmentation (dividing your market into subgroups that are most pertinent to your business and will result in efficient marketing) and demographics (such as Education, Age, Race, and all the good stuff that marketers like to have as a basis for targeting), assuming that the features, functionality and messaging will meet the needs of all of the customers in that segment with a one size fits all marketing strategy.

However, in today’s rapidly changing marketing environment, where your target audience does not have time to listen to you about how much you can help them with their problems; you need to show them. The targett audience has been replaced with a customer persona.”

Customer Personas are a common marketing and design tactic that help to focus your marketing campaign or project.  A customer persona is about catering to a person and humanizing your approach to meet their needs. The idea is to understand the wants and needs of a group of people who are among the most likely to buy your product or service.

To develop your personas, you need to determine what their goals and attitudes are.

Personas help marketers visualize their audience and better understand their needs in relation to the campaign strategy. They’re character sketches of individual audience members that define who the product or service is for in order to bring the user into the project development process.

What is a customer persona?

“Personas are archetypal users that represent the needs of larger groups of customers, in terms of their goals and personal characteristics. Think of them as “stand-ins” for real customers. A persona seeks to zero-in on customer behavior and characteristics. A persona is a concise description of a specific customer type.

It’s important not to confuse personas with profiles. Personas are narrative descriptions that bring user profiles to life. Personas present an alternative representation of user profile data that is easily understandable and is designed to communicate customer details that are easy for team members to keep in mind during the buying process.”- Laura Patterson, President of VisionEdge Marketing

How do you create the personas? If you are having trouble reaching your customers in a way that is valuable to your company, you might consider doing some research and building some personas.

The idea behind a persona is to gather a wide range of data sources including demographic and behavioral data as well as preferences for content discovery, content consumption, and how they engage with content all wrapped up in a nice little package.

A persona is to your marketing, sales and communications strategy what a mannequin is to clothing. It gives you a model to base your marketing decisions on. It’s an avatar, or a profile of a fictional buyer, you craft from what you learn in direct interviews and market research with as many buyers as possible. It’s essentially all about your typical buyer. They represent your company’s real or target audience.

You should have a different customer persona for each target market and for each version of your product. These personas should be reflective of your actual customer base. Otherwise, you risk sending the wrong message, to the wrong audience, at the wrong time.

The first step is to define the customer lifecycle and understand all of the corresponding touchpoints. Marketing has more touchpoints with a buyer than any other part of the organization, and is critical to modeling effective interactions and to designing marketing programs that will result in higher sales conversion rates.

Once you have your primary data, begin creating your personas by starting with the user’s name, demographics (what is their income level, how many people are in their household and where do they live), behavior (do they buy high priced products for show or are they conservative in their spending such as keeping cars until they no longer function?) and any detailed characteristic that helps pinpoint your understanding of their needs (are they just looking for basic products at the lowest cost? ), situation, condition (are they the one who does most of the shopping?) and aspirations  (what are their personal goals? ).

So if you sell multiple products or services with different audiences, you should consider creating personas for each prospect in the buying process. Knowing this trait helps marketing decide how they should interact with a person during pre-to post purchase buyer phase. Once you do, you stand a much better chance of communicating with them effectively and persuading them to take the actions you want them to take.

The ideal number of personas for a company would be four. A complicated company may have up to seven personas, but more may lead to a lack of focus. Doing so helps you better engage with your target audience, increase your chances of turning them from prospects to customers, and helps to increase your customer lifetime value.

Personas should also be updated frequently. Innovation and competition may significantly shift the attitudes and behaviors of a company’s customers. In order to keep personas current, companies should maintain a consistent dialogue with customers and commit to maintaining the personas as living and breathing documents. A well-researched persona will enable your marketing department to clarify the goals, concerns, preferences and decision-making processes most relevant to your business’ customers. A strong understanding of your buyer persona will enable you to more effectively target your marketing message.

Researching and documenting your persona, a detailed profile of an example buyer that represents the real audience, can help to inform –and transform your marketing efforts and strategy in ways you may not have thought possible.

When researched carefully, customer personas can illuminate who buyers are, the situations they are faced with, how they have changed, and most important what goals they are attempting to accomplish.

Essentially, every business’ success requires a marketing arsenal that is grounded in deep insight about its buyer’s decision to choose them, a competitor, or nothing at all. Only then can they help buyers see that their product, service or solution will make their life easier in exactly the way they imagine.

 

How to Expand Your E-Commerce Business globally?

  Nik Oliva   None

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The idea of competing globally can be intimidating. With the international market fuels the growth of many small and online businesses (e-commerce), it’s tempting to give it a go, expand and go global.

As the global economy continues to expand, there’s even reason to think that every business may have some competitive advantages. Today’s evolutionary technology allows us to live in an integrated, interdependent and interconnected world. This has played a huge role in changes for students, individuals and organizations. Social media is booming, the IT revolution is stronger than ever and emerging market countries are the engines for global economic growth. This creates enormous opportunities for small and mid-sized companies to compete and thrive in international markets.

One way to enhance business competitiveness is through expanding the customer base globally.

Why expand globally?

Today’s business owners are successfully adding international components to their marketing programs. Millions of buyers as well as huge choice are just some reasons why every company, no matter how small, should be doing business worldwide. This provides an excellent opportunity to compete with foreign companies and encourage the creation of business efficiencies and product development.

The rise of globalization has created interdependent markets that highlight the pros and cons of leveraging foreign exchange. For companies that haven’t spread their global wings, then they need to take advantage of the opportunities available through trading on a worldwide stage.

One benefit of global business communication is the ability to expand business opportunities with other countries. There are thousands of internet searches every day from people seeking all kinds of products, so to maximize profits all businesses should be in a position to capture some of those potential customers. Successful exposure in multiple markets provides a much broader customer base from which you can generate business.  Just imagine increasing the number of potential clients by more than 100 percent each time you start selling in a new country.

If you’re looking for an audience, more customers, or people to influence, the web is where your business needs to be. To effectively market your business, you need the right technology, especially a website that can position your business well internationally. Selling your products through a website is a simple, low-cost way of entering the global market.

When you have a good website, it gives people a peace of mind about your business. Whether you’re selling a product or service, or simply providing information, it’s important for your business to have a web presence in order to establish itself globally. Customers and prospects around the world can visit your website at any time to select products and place orders.

To effectively market your product, you need to be able to “speak their native language” as your consumer. Your website needs to support the languages in the market that you are targeting. Make your website even more enticing by putting together versions in different languages.

Your presence in the overseas markets can also provide you with invaluable competitive information and know-how. Getting different points of view from around the globe could trigger off all sorts of opportunities and possibilities. For instance, you may find new products to expand your portfolio or discover new partners to grow your business in other ways. For example, you might be able to find a special product material, which is generated cheaply in Asian countries that you can offer overseas and sell it at a premium price. For the reason that as people in certain countries get richer, they demand more and more specialized products that are not mass produced. So consumers there will be willing to pay a premium for authentic and luxury goods. Exporting is a great opportunity, this is growth for your business.

The ability to stand out amongst competitors is a crucial factor in business. You have to understand your market in the country you are targeting. The first, and most important step in entering any foreign market is conducting extensive market research. It’s important to consider the state of a prospective market’s condition. The price that products can fetch might vary from market to market.  So If you plan to export physical goods, learn about trade missions and events; begin your research into export licensing requirements. It’s necessary to understand exporting laws and regulations, both here in your country and in the target country.  Needless to say, opening yourself up to rapidly growing markets can be lucrative, even for a small business. Define your target market, research and planning could go a long way to spare your business from some international entrepreneurial difficulties.

For your ecommerce website, carry out reactive and proactive research; check the origin of site traffic using your site’s analytics tool or use Google Analytics.  Services like Google even offer country-specific analytics to help you see which search terms and phrases your targeted consumers use. Use the data on the website to identify territories that have a demand for your products. Also, remember that what works in your local market may not work for other markets. Sometimes, you may even need to revise your product to suit the climate and setting of your new market. Selling internationally means catering to the needs and tastes of people whose cultures and tastes are different than yours.

You may want to consider hiring a cross-cultural business consultant. This regular business consultant works with clients on strategy, planning and problem solving, and helps clients develop business skills and knowledge.  These consultants who can guide businesses through the complicated process of dealing with foreign tax and labor laws has made setting up shop overseas feasible for more than just big multinationals.

An international business plan is an essential tool to properly evaluate all the factors that would affect your company’s success. You can also take advantage of numerous services available through the federal and state government sine many of them are free yet still informative that will walk you through all aspects of selling overseas, and advised advises.

Engaging in global market trade provides many advantages, but to be successful, businesses should prepare carefully before deciding to go for their adventure. Taking these steps will be good for you as a businessman as well as for your business.