5 Top Tips To Stay Ahead in Business

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Don't get lost in a sea of competition; target your audience and define your difference. You are not the only one going after your target market, so what can you do to stand out from the crowd and provide what their looking for? Here are five practical and thought provoking tips to help you stay ahead of your game.

Tip_1_Green Know what your market wants: Do you truly know what your target audience wants? More importantly, what they struggle with? People are far more inclined to invest time and money in that which either alleviates their suffering or, makes their life easier. Consider researching this with your target market with an online questionnaire for example, add an incentive, if you offer a service such as coaching or consulting, make the prize 3 free sessions or a free company diagnostic etc.

Tip_2_Green Focus your offering: There can be a tendency with some businesses to offer up a large diverse product range in all sorts of different categories, attempting to appeal to as many people as possible. Theoretically equating to more sales. This is a misconception in today's market. This strategy may initially appeal to a wide variety of people but over time, just serves to make your brand appear as if it is a jack-of-all trades and not professional, not expert. When you choose to really focus in on 1 or 2 product/service offerings, the public perception switches to "ah these guys must be experts in (for instance) kettles, because all they sell is kettles!" and hence they will come to you, and as a side effect, will probably spend more money to get a better model and "expert" advice.

Tip_3_Green What makes you unique? Have you considered exactly what makes you and your product unique? Diversifying in a busy market is essential in order to stay ahead of the game and get noticed. Even if the market for what you do is already over saturated, there will be something that differentiates you from the crowd, no matter how small, exploit it and hence, you will own it. For example, you might be a courier company who happens to deliver on Saturdays and Sundays but doesn't charge more for that service. This is special, it's your unique offering and it will hold you high above the crowed and get you noticed. Make a list of all the ways you differ from the competition and start to build on and promote one of these elements.

Tip_4_GreenHuman networking: Business is about trust. Repeat business is reliant upon it, new business requires it. People have a natural desire to want to build beneficial and rewarding relationships. From these relationships comes trust. When we meet face-to-face and in the flesh, we have far more impact; your demographic can put a face and a personality to your offering, you suddenly become memorable (more so than a sales email). Make a point of researching where your target audience is likely to physically go, do they attend trade fairs? Business networking lunches? Once you have a fair idea as to where you are likely to find them, go along and interact authentically. Claim your clients, let them know how important they are to you and that you'd be honored to service their needs, fix their struggles, see tip number 1.

Tip_5_GreenIncentivised business cards: Finally make sure you have plenty of up to date, well-designed business cards on hand, at all times. Ensure the details are accurate and legible. You just never know when you'll encounter an opportunity; make it super easy for them to contact you. Something to consider is to offer a free consultation or a percentage of discount on them producing your business card. It transforms your little cardboard oblong of contact details, into a valuable commodity that will ensure your prospect holds onto it for a little while longer, everyone loves a freebie!

This article is written by Phil Askew, Striding Out Coach. Phil is a professional coach with more than 19 years experience in the field of branding and coaching. To discover your full potential both personally and in business contact him at [email protected]