Do you find yourself neglecting the needs of your customers or your employees because you’re preoccupied with winning? Consumed with being number one? No one understands winning better than me. In fact, I might be the most competitive person I know.
However, if your main concern is bringing down the competition, I can assure you that your business is going to suffer. Whilst you’re reacting to their latest strategies, you’ll be missing golden opportunities to break into new markets or better serve your loyal customers.
Whilst you’re working to infiltrate their lists and win their clients, you’ll be losing your own clients?ones that were already perfect fits for your brand.
Believe it or not, you can have it all. You can be the most innovative, the most customer-centred, the most profitable?and do it all better than the competition. You just have to adjust your approach by concentrating on three areas.
1. Work harder
If I had to choose the one thing in business that you have complete control over, it’s the effort and commitment to put forth. Even if everything around you is falling apart, you can still put the work in.
If you feel that no one believes in your vision, you can still put the work in. And yes, even when people come and go as if your business has a revolving door, you can put your head down, your nose to the grindstone, and work.
In my experience, this is the ultimate form of competitiveness. After all, you can’t win the race without running your fastest. You’ve got to be breathing hard, with a pounding heart, if you want to be the one breaking through that finish line tape.
2. Make a bigger difference
Every industry carries a list of complaints ? the gaps in goods and services that their customers feel and speak up about; the things they wish they could change. So what are you doing with that information? You can cause change not only for your own clientele, but for your industry as a whole.
Take calculated risks that you believe will result in greater benefits for your target market.
Identify gaps in service and develop ways to fill those gaps. Determine what is most important to your target customers, examine your own operations, and make big improvements there. When you make differences that your customers (and potential customers) can see and feel, your business wins.
3. Make customers a priority
There are lots of areas you can focus on in your business. You can work to build your own profile. You can give all your attention to boosting profits. You can chase the competition and mirror every move. These actions may yield immediate, albeit short-lived, results ? but if you want to make a real, profitable investment in your business, commit a large portion of your time to meeting your customers’ needs.
Ask them questions. Show interest in their opinions. Solve the problems they want you to solve, in the ways that they prefer. When they grumble, aspire to make it right. This type of hyper-focus on your customers’ needs will prove to be the cure-all for business. No matter what ails it, a strong base of satisfied customers will heal it and put your company at the front of the pack.
Never assume you have no competitors. Never assume that the competition you do have is no threat. And once you realise all that, focus on everything except them. Let them spend time worrying about what you’re doing. And rest in the fact that because you’re working harder, making a bigger difference and making your customers a priority, they’ll have a hard time ever catching you.
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