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Keeping up with the Competition

02 January, 2020

In the last decade, the market has witnessed an influx of variety and competitive prices, making shopping a more exciting experience for consumers. While this benefits buyers, it also places increased pressure on companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Regardless of the nature of your business, chances are there are other companies offering similar products or services, possibly at a higher level of quality. So, what steps should you take to gain a competitive advantage? Of course, providing a superior product or service is a given, but in today’s business climate, that may not be enough.

Price Considerations

The days of competing solely with local stores are long gone. Unless your business offers location-specific services, such as restaurants or barbershops, you are likely aware that competitors from other regions, or even countries, can offer similar products at lower prices. When customers compare prices, even a marginal difference can sway their decision.

Fortunately, you can leverage the same system to your advantage. Unlike in the past, where gathering information about competitor prices required extensive legwork, you now have easy access to this data with just a few clicks. This enables you to adjust your prices accordingly and determine if your product or service can generate the necessary revenue for profitability before launching it.

Size Matters

While many businesses start as small operations or home-based ventures, being too small can hinder long-term success. Insufficient capacity may prevent you from accommodating the volume of clients needed to stay competitive. Limited resources can also result in slower production due to an excessive workload on a small team. While operating a lean business may initially seem cost-effective, it’s important to be realistic about your business goals. Modest growth in operations can yield significant results for the overall business if managed correctly.

Employee Relations

There is a reason why companies of all sizes have human resources departments. Any issues among employees can eventually impact the company’s bottom line. While it’s often said that good help is hard to find, anyone who has worked in management knows that retaining talent can be equally challenging. Employee churn rate, the percentage of employees leaving and needing to be replaced, is a commonly used metric to measure success or failure. A higher churn rate typically indicates overall employee dissatisfaction, which often affects the company’s profitability.

When professionals leave your organization, where do they end up? Often, they join your competitors or even start their own competing ventures. A notable example is Dave Thomas, who worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken (now KFC) before leveraging the skills he acquired to establish Wendy’s, one of KFC’s biggest competitors. Imagine the impact if they had managed to keep him satisfied.

Unhappy employees directly impact the quality of their work and how they treat customers. As renowned businessman Richard Branson once stated, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.”

Stay Ahead of the Curve

Customer expectations often outweigh reality. Nowadays, customers expect companies to keep up with the latest technological advancements. For example, hiring a company that still operates on Windows 98 may not inspire confidence. Beyond the perception factor, there is substance to this argument as well. Outdated software versions often lack essential features considered standard today. Moreover, older software versions may be vulnerable to cyber threats, as hackers exploit security flaws. It’s important to stay current to protect your business and customers.

Similarly, aging hardware can hinder your competitive edge. Out-of-date or inefficient equipment may prevent you from meeting customer expectations or delivering a high-quality end product. While you don’t need to upgrade every time a new advancement emerges, monitoring what your competitors are using will help you remain on par with them.

Consider External Support

Technology serves as a valuable tool for your business, whether on the frontend or backend. Ensuring your equipment, software, and data management are up to date and optimized for your needs is essential. If the cost of purchasing these items seems prohibitive, you might explore Hardware as a Service (HaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS) arrangements to stay competitive. If you believe your company could benefit from these solutions, contact us to arrange a consultation and help sharpen your competitive edge.

As we embark on this new decade, staying competitive is more crucial than ever. You have worked diligently to bring your company this far; don’t let it suffer by falling behind in technology’s ever-evolving landscape.

02 January, 2020