One of my favorite movie lines, which I think about often, comes from the 1993 movie Rudy. In his pre-game inspirational talk in the film, Notre Dame football coach Dan Devine says, “No one, and I mean no one, comes into our house and pushes us around.”
Yet, this happens all the time in our businesses.
We let competitors push us around. We let them steal our customers. We let them push our prices and margins down. And we let them dictate how we run our businesses.
So how do we stop this? How do we dictate how competitors need to act? And to go even further, how can we terrorize our competition so they don’t even want to compete with us?
Here are 7 of my favorite ways:
1. Know More Than Them
By investing in the latest education, you will always have an edge on your competitors (assuming they don’t also do this). Learning the best new techniques in sales, marketing, operations, finance, HR, etc. will allow you to outperform your competition on multiple fronts.
2. Create a Vision and Stick to It
Spend the time to create a solid vision of the company you want to create. For example, my vision at Growthink is to become the number one place where entrepreneurs go for assistance starting and growing their companies.
When you have a solid vision, you will not make knee-jerk reactions to your competitors’ actions. Rather they will react to you. Also, while competitors’ actions may cause you to shift your strategies, if you have a set vision, you will spend less time strategizing and more time executing.
3. Really Listen to Your Customers
One of my favorite quotes is from marketing expert Jay Abraham which goes, “Your customers are geniuses; they know exactly what they want.”
By spending more time listening to the needs of your customers, you will create better products and services than your competitors.
4. Focus on Customer Retention
Focus more on retaining your customers than getting new ones. Studies have shown that it costs up to 7 times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer. The profit is in retaining customers and selling them more things (that they need) over time.
Let your competitors fail to make profits, burn out, and go out of business by exclusively focusing on acquiring new customers.
5. Hire Right
As you grow your business, the less “doing” (e.g., building the product or providing the service to the customer) you will do and the more “managing” you will do. So your success will be put into the hands of those you hire. Spend the time to hire right and to train them well. And if you ever have the concern, “what happens if I train them and they leave?” then think the opposite, “What happens if you don’t train them and they stay.”
6. Create Systems
I heard the following acronym definition of “system” at a conference last week (yes, I am practicing what I preach and constantly invest in my own education).
The definition is:
Yes, systems may take time to develop. But once you’ve developed them, you will save time, energy and money on an ongoing basis.
7. Do Something Your Competition Would Have a Hard Time Duplicating
I know of one business that has an extremely rigorous client development process. Among other things, it consists of 6 months of pre-written emails sent to prospects twice per week, and weekly letters and packages sent to them in the mail. The process works extremely well, and not only would it take competitors 6 months to learn their systems, but creating a similar program would be a significant undertaking.
Other companies create a host of niche products that make it harder for a new competitor to enter their market. For example, if someone wanted to compete against Growthink with a capital raising product, it would be hard for them as we offer a product for raising angel capital, a product for raising venture capital, a product to get loans, a product to get grants, etc.
So, think about how you could create a company that your competitors can’t replicate. In doing so, your competitors will be at a huge disadvantage. Also in doing so, you will become a great acquisition candidate for larger companies who realize it’s easier to buy what you’ve developed than try to recreate it themselves.
8. (Bonus) Document Your Strategy in a Written Plan
There is countless research showing that those with written plans achieve significantly more success than those who don’t.
See the featured resource below for help in quickly and easily creating a killer plan.
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