Regardless of what type of industry you're in, more than likely, you've already noticed the advancing competition. Although more and more businesses are trying to innovate and expand their customer base, there are things you can do to stand out from the crowd and establish you and your business as an industry leader.
Infographic courtesy of: Lab42.
1. Incorporate innovate products into your business planDo market research and see what products people are looking for in your industry.
It's important to strive to be a leader in your field rather than to be the one following the crowd. If you're a travel agent, perhaps you can offer personalized services or tours when customers reach their destination. Anything that adds extra value, meets the customers' needs in a unique way, and puts your business ahead of the competition can be an excellent strategy to position your company as a trusted leader in your industry.
Of course, it's not just great, cutting edge products that you need to offer; you also need to be providing your customers with exceptional content that is at the forefront of your industry. As a leader, your innovative content will be the buzz in your industry, setting you up as the expert in your field. If you want to make a difference, your content and products need to be at the cutting edge of what consumers are looking for.
2. Prioritize hiring top talentProviding innovative content and products takes not only research, but also talented individuals who are forward thinkers. Arm your business with a powerful team of highly-skilled individuals without the expense of hiring a full-time in-house team. A virtual team, comprised of strong leaders who are experts in the field, can offer the flexibility to grow your business while using online tools. It is no longer necessary to always have an in-house team. Virtual employees working from their home can offer the creativity and innovation to propel your company forward.
When you work with a virtual team, you can easily expand as your need and budget permit. Today, approximately 45% of employees work from home as virtual employees. Choose quality leaders with a vision to outpace your competition and give you a lead in your industry.
3. It's imperative that you keep up with the latest technological advancementsAny business that is shooting for being an innovative leader in their industry must be up to date and knowledgeable about the latest breakthroughs in technology.
You'll want to implement new technology in your business as well as in your products. You can draw on the latest technology in order to offer your customers more advanced ways to browse your products, make purchases or even learn about breaking trends in the industry. Additionally, by embracing technological advancements as they first emerge, you'll set yourself up as a leader in your field. Your team will be kept up to date with breakthroughs in technology, which will help them focus on imaginative and innovative products and solutions.
4. Set your business apart from the competition by delivering exceptional customer serviceWhether it's a problem with an order or a potential client has a question, excellent customer service can demonstrate the professionalism and expertise of your company.
A well trained customer service specialist will be able to give your business the competitive edge it needs in order to give customers the assurance that they are dealing with a leader. Research has shown that approximately 90% of consumers expect the customer experience to be consistent across all channels.
Remember, problems can arise in any business, but knowing how to handle them efficiently and in a professional manner can help set the tone for your business model.
5. Never get stuck in the same rut as your competitionIt's easy to think you must follow a prescribed path to reach your goals, especially when you see everyone else doing the same thing; however, it's important to not be afraid to break out on your own, and to do things a little different than the crowd. Some rules are meant to be broken, and when you want to be the one breaking out ahead of the pack, you're likely going to have to be comfortable doing things different than the rest. By pushing the boundaries, you might be surprised with the positive results you see for your efforts.
When you decide to step out from the crowd, you'll find that many others will likely try to follow. Don't worry about the competition. Instead, stay focused and control what you can control and do what you can do!
This is a guest contribution from Ryan Ayers.
Top image credit: BigStockPhoto.