Be better than the competition. That was always the way it seemed was the secret to success for any business, small or large. These days the thinking has changed.
Nowadays, the refrain is to be different than the competition. You can only reinvent the wheel so many times and it is getting very hard to compete on things like price and added value.
Sometimes you have to see trends before they happen so you can stay ahead of the curve. And when you do, you’ll be able to set yourself apart from the competition.
With some creativity in your business and taking on the fresh ideas in this article, you’ll be well on your way to success.
1 – Make it easy to pay
Just taking credit card payment is not enough. These days your business should be ready to accept some alternative forms of payment. Since everybody knows how to buy Bitcoin these days, you should be equipped to take cryptocurrency payments.
People want easy and secure ways to pay and using cryptocurrency provides that for many people. If your business is online and you ship worldwide or provide a service, then you really need to take crypto since it takes any foreign currency conversions out of the equation.
Google and Apple Pay are also alternative payment types that should be accepted by your business.
2 – Use freelancers
Competing on price is very tricky. It can sometimes be a race to the bottom between you and the competition. And with margins as low as they are in many industries, it is a losing proposition.
Which is why you should be outsourcing much of the work that a traditional employee would have done in the past.
Instead of having an accounting team, that should be done by a freelancer or by hiring out to a company when needed. Marketing teams are becoming a thing of the past now that there are many digital marketing freelancers and firms that can do the job at will when needed.
Having dedicated teams is expensive. The savings on salary and benefits can be passed on to your customers so you can be competitive when pricing your product or service.
3 – Customer support
When you are a small business, it can be tricky to handle growing your business and worrying about customer support at the same time. This is another area that should be outsourced.
In fact, many times the support won’t be done by a human at all. With advances in Artificial Intelligence, there are chatbots that can be programmed to handle some rather sophisticated tasks.
4 – Invest in new tech
Using old tech is a surefire way to waste money. It may cost a lot to bring in new hardware and software to run your business but it will pay off in time. You can’t compete in tomorrow’s world using yesterday’s technology.
The growth of cloud computing and Big Data have changed the game so it pays to be on the ground floor when this technology is being rolled out.
5 – Create a loyalty program
It costs far more to gain a customer than to keep one. One of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your customers from straying elsewhere is to use a loyalty or rewards program.
These can come in basic forms like a card that gets stamped everytime they come back and purchase something. Those can be a little too simple and come off as amateurish, though.
In today’s digital age, it makes more sense to use an app that people will have on their phone so they never forget it at home.
You can create your own app or use an existing one that handles different types of rewards programs.
6 – Create an email list
It doesn’t matter what size or type of company you have, if you aren’t using an email collection system then you are leaving money on the table.
People that sign up to be on your list and are willing to give you their email are actually asking you to market to them. They like your message, your product or your service enough to want to receive notices from you.
You do need to offer something in return for their email, however. This is called a lead magnet. It can be in the form of a giveaway in which a random user gets a free product or service. Or, it can be something that everybody gets for free like a downloadable e-book. Make it irresistible and watch your email list grow quickly.
7 – Have multiple marketing channels
Using social media to market your business is pretty obvious, but there are other ways that go beyond the obvious. Creating a webinar will help get the word out and build your brand. Also, YouTube is still not completely saturated so you can make a name for yourself through that platform.