How to muscle out the competition

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Date: 10 March 2020

A group of business colleagues brainstorm innovative ways to beat the competition.

As in all walks of life, whenever there’s intense rivalry between businesses, it brings more attention to both. Customers and fellow professionals will be excited to watch a war between competitors.

Just take a look at Samsung and Apple. They drag each other through the courts all the time, trying to sue one another for copying designs or unfair operating techniques. Then look at Mercedes and BMW, the top two German car manufacturers, who are always trying to fight for the best materials being imported into the country.

This doesn’t harm the industry, nor the businesses involved. What it does do is make your business better and more competitive.

Here’s how to come out on top against the competition.

Getting to know your rivals

Before you take the fight to the opposition, you need to know who your competitors are. Create an analysis report to show you which businesses you are directly competing against. You need to make sure that you’re setting the scope correctly. Are you an international business, national, or just regional?

You will need to create four different lists:

  1. Who are your most dangerous rivals?
  2. Who does not post the biggest threat?
  3. Who is the largest domestic threat?
  4. Who is the largest international threat?

When you have made this list, you will know what companies you need to watch out for. Your most dangerous rivals will be those that make similar products, and price them similarly as well. Watching their business closely is something you will need to make a habit of doing.

Those that do not pose a threat can be ignored for the time being, but at least you know who you shouldn’t waste your time and resources on.

Your largest domestic threat is very important, as if you cannot conquer your home base of consumers, then you may have little chance of stopping a global rival.

Fighting anti-competitive behaviour

It's very difficult to compete fairly when your rivals have teamed together. Look out for suspicious signs of unfair, anti-competitive actions.

Do your rivals seem to release products at the same time? Does it seem as though their products are being priced almost exactly the same, week in and week out, at a level that seems designed to shut out smaller competitors?

Market sharing is also a dead giveaway when competitors are working together. This occurs when rivals agree to not go after a particular customer type, or in a particular location, so that they can divide the market between themselves. If you spot any of these signs, you may be watching a business cartel at work.

So how do you stop it? The first thing you need to do is to collect evidence. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and industry regulators will start an investigation if they think there is evidence of wrongdoing. If you’re suspicious about potential anti-competitive behaviour, study your rivals and log as much information as you can regarding suspicious activity.

Luring away their suppliers

You should never be shy of approaching a rival’s suppliers. All is fair in love, war and business, and presenting yourself as a better alternative to a competitor’s business partner is a great way to attack the opposition.

It shouldn’t be too difficult to find out who your rival’s partners are. Check on their website to see if they disclose this information. You could also study their products which may have tell-tale signs such as marketing stickers.

One other simple way to find out would be to call them up posing as a customer, asking for information about the quality of their product.

Once you know who it is, see if you can start a dialogue with them. B2B partnerships can be fickle and if one party is not happy with the other, they will be waiting to get out of the contract as soon as possible. Talk to the supplier about working with your business instead.

To lure a competitor’s partner away from them, you could offer a more lucrative contract, one that favours them for a couple of years before becoming more balanced. You could offer them increased logistical support. There are many things you can do to effectively steal away a rival’s suppliers.

Making your operation more attractive

If you are in talks with your competitor’s partners, you have to show them that you are a better alternative - not just in products and services, but in how you do business.

Making things easier such as sales documents and invoices is a great way to persuade clients to your side. Using document generation software can shorten the process of creating sales documents as well as pretty much any other type of document.

This is a great tool to use, as employees and managers can work together to quickly make such documents. The speed and efficiency in which you nail down sales contracts and other supplier obligations will attract partners to work with you. 

Making a song and dance

At business exhibitions, clients will be meeting and greeting one another non-stop. Going to the top exhibitions and setting up a stand is in your best interests. No doubt your rivals will be doing the same, and their clients will be seeking to know if they are making the right choice by sticking with them. They will be wandering the venue looking for alternatives.

Creating a presentation about your business, products and services is a brilliant way to make open challenges to your rivals. Confidently showing their clients why you are making more sales, increasing your consumer outreach and designing superior products and services is an in-your-face tactic which can convince some that you are a better alternative. 

Copyright 2020. Article was made possible by site supporter Jeremy Bowler

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