In business, it can be easy to get distracted by what your competitors are doing. When they bring out new products or services, branch out into new markets or change their course of action you can be tempted to do the same.
But when you change the way you do business or take an alternate course of action because of what your competitors are doing, they become the leader while you become the follower – and you’ll always be one step behind.
So to prevent you from taking actions you may not have taken if it wasn’t for feeling threatened, here are three tips to ensure you remain a leader in your own business not a follower of someone else’s.
1. Stay focused on your customers, not your competitors
The best and quickest way to grow your business and expand your market share is to stay focused on your customer not your competitors.
The more you can get inside your customers head, the more relevant and targeted you can make your products, services and marketing. Give your customers what they want and they will not only keep coming back, they will also refer more people to you.
So be a leader, find opportunities to be different, stay focused on what your customer wants and continually value-add and innovate to give it to them. Do this and you won’t have to worry about your competitors. They on the other hand will have a lot to worry about with you!
2. Anticipate needs and trends
A true market leader will not just meet current customer needs and wants, they’ll also anticipate future needs, wants and trends.
Look for patterns that are forming, frustrations that are growing, trends and technology that are going to impact how you provide and deliver your products and services or how you customer will use them, and watch for what no one else is doing. Most importantly, listen to what your customers are saying – and not saying.
If you are taking these market-leading actions yourself, you’ll have no reason to follow what your competitors are doing; you’ll already be on it.
3. Play on your strengths
Each business has its own strengths. It could be your knowledge, specialist staff, results, your high quality products and services, your level of customer service and follow up, your creativity and ideas, your industry experience, your client base, your large budget, your size and infrastructure, your available resources, your entrepreneurial thinking, or your agility.
Whatever your strengths are, use them to your best advantage. Too often we focus on other people’s strengths and our weaknesses. But for a competitive advantage in business you need to be focused on your competitors’ weaknesses and developing your strengths.
This article first appeared on StartupSmart.