BEAT THE COMPETITION
It is no news that the internet is a crowded place and you aren’t the only business vying for the attention of your customers. As a matter of fact, the person you are spending cool dollars to appeal to, is the same person your competitor is spending ‘cooler’ dollars to win over. So how do you win the battle to be top of mind? How do you gain the edge over your competitors? This is what I will be sharing in today’s chronicle .
Firstly, let me tell you a story:
Growing up in Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, there were 3 ladies on my street who sold ‘bukka’. Each lady had a distinctive taste in their food, but they all tasted great, but for some reason, a particular woman always sold out first. It was so serious that others wouldn't sell a thing until she had sold out. For the sake of this article, I will call her Aunty Stella. Me and my siblings would sneak out of the house to buy her food. We had to sneak out because we were certain to become sacrifices to the gods if my parents had caught us buying bukka food.
Anyway, during our feeding escapades, we had the luxury of trying each woman’s food and there wasn’t much difference in taste. Still - we found ourselves queuing up like hunger controlled zombies waiting for Aunty Stella’s food.
Jesus! As I am writing this, I am drowning in embarrassment.
Back to my story…
Aunty Stella’s constantly sold out meals began to breed gossip and some tongue-wangers rumored that she used some dark magic to prepare her meals and that was the reason others couldn’t sell their delicacies until she was done. When I heard the rumors, I was scared, but I still craved to sit in her air conditioned, spring time fragranced, soothing music permeated, restaurant. But more often than not, I couldn’t satisfy my cravings. Because my mom was around, and I didn’t want to become an offering to the gods.
Here is where it gets interesting:
In spite of the bad tales terrorizing the streets over her dark magic meals, people were still buying from her! The fear for dark magic wasn’t as great as the desire for her meals. The people were hooked! The unreal addictions on her meals only served as a fertile ground to grow more juju-backed-food-gossips, but her customers were unwavering. Then more people gossiped, The more people ate her food. The more people got dependent on her delicacies, The richer she became. A little while later, she bought a property worth tens of millions in Adeniyi Jones and opened a 4-star restaurant.
The other women remained there.
Looking back, I am certain that the reason behind people’s obsessive addiction to Aunty Stella’s meals was because of her competitive advantage and not any diabolic activities:
Eating in Aunty Stella’s shop was like dining in heaven on a budget. She played the most soothing music that eased fatigue and her air conditioner was a defense from the scorching heat. Her employees were courteous and her customers were pleasant. The food was just an added bonus.
On the other hand, her competitors were stuck in fan-blowing shops, infested with flies and even more annoying customers.
So it wasn’t really even the product that made her top of mind, customer experience was her competitive advantage and it made her rich.
What is your competitive advantage?
A competitive advantage is an advantage over competitors gained by offering consumers greater value, either by means of lower prices or by providing greater benefits and service that justifies higher prices.
So, as an entrepreneur, there is a crucial need to decide what the competitive advantage of your business will be.
What will give you an edge over the competition? Will it be the cost and price of your products and services or will it be the value and benefits your services and products bring to the customer.
So, how can you create a competitive advantage for your business, particularly a digital one?
- AFFORDABLE PRICE:
This approach to creating a competitive advantage is when a business focuses on being the lowest-cost producer in the industry. Businesses that choose this approach do so when the products or services they intend to sell to customers are very similar, if not the same. So, they opt in to being the business who provides their products or services at the lowest price, this then gives them an edge because a large percentage of customers are cost conscious.
If being the lowest cost provider in your market is not a strategy you intend to pursue, well you can follow the differentiation strategy. Differentiation involves making your products or services different from and more attractive than those of your competitors. This can also be seen as a brand loyalty strategy. So, as an entrepreneur, you will want to make your products and services unique from similar products and services within the marketplace, this way – your customers will have a unique perception of you as a brand.
Businesses that use the focus strategies concentrate on particular niche markets and, by understanding the dynamics of that market and the unique needs of customers within it, they then develop uniquely low-cost or well-defined and specified products for the market. Because they serve customers in their market uniquely well, they tend to build strong brand loyalty amongst their customers. This is why the section of the course where we talked about picking a niche and then creating products and services that serve the needs of the people within that segment is very important.
- FOCUS ON USER EXPERIENCE:
As a digital entrepreneur, your online presence will be one of the ways customers will engage with you, in order for you to gain an edge over the competition and solidify your business in the hearts of customers – it is important for them to have a good experience. Either through your website or via your social media channels.
The 21st century customer is powerful. Very powerful. Digital technology has transferred the power from the hands of the business to the customer and just like anyone with power, customers exercise that power to the fullest. They are even often compared to a cry baby in the business world because of how fragile their feelings and emotions can be if and when they are not happy with a business. Think about this – a customer can browse your website and go to 3 other business’s websites to compare your prices or value proposition and then decide to buy from you or someone else.
- RESEARCHING COMPETITION:
You can also discover your competitive advantage by taking the time to study and research your competition. What are they lacking? What do their customers complain about? What aspect of their business can be improved etc. When you arm yourself with this information, you can turn their weaknesses into your strengths. Focus on filling the void they are unable to fill and the money will find its way to you!
In my humble opinion, this is the secret to developing a strong edge over your competitors. This is the secret to being top-of-mind with your customers. This is the secret to becoming so memorable, your customers will be dependent on your product. How else do you think that a road-side restaurant can become so big, the mystic has to be attributed to their success.
Practice this principle and soon enough, you will be smiling to the bank.
P.S: Global Wissen Consult has a Digital Entrepreneurship Program that goes into this topic in detail. Access the program here.
Until next time, I remain yours in the digital entrepreneurship journey,