When you’re running a business, it’s not just your own venture you need to be keeping tabs on.

When the competition is so fierce, you also need to be aware of what your competitors are doing, and ensure you’re doing what you can to stay on track and not be losing those all important customers to other businesses.

Here are just a few of the ways you can ensure you’re keeping ahead of your competition.

Improve Your Online Presence

Apps can do wonderful things for your business, one of which is improving your online presence.  

At this day in age when we’re all so attached to our smartphones, it makes sense that we would work on ways to target the customer here.

Research has now shown that more sales are made on phones and tablets than they are on devices like laptops and computers. It’s the first time this has happened.

As a company owner, this is information you can’t afford to ignore.

While your site should be optimized for any device, an app takes it all a step further.

Your website of course needs to be up to scratch, since this is the first thing that most people will see of your business. When competition is so fierce, first impressions really do matter.

Some of the most important things are that it’s aesthetically pleasing and quick to load. If it lacks in these two areas, people are inclined to click off and be put off to the point that they would never come back.

You need clear links to all of your information. An ‘about’ page with your companies details and story, contact information including and email, a landline number and a physical address, and social media accounts.

Another thing you could link to is a business blog. This is fantastic for creating an online presence.

It shows you’re knowledgeable in the area you sell in and shows that your brand is well thought out and you’ve taken the time to put together these kinds of details.

The way you present yourself online is so important. Take the time to be sure that this is something you are getting right.

Find Your Unique Selling Point

One of the best ways that you can compete with bigger and more established businesses who sell similar things to you, is by getting your unique selling point right.

For example, imagine you’re a business that sells clothes. While this is a good area as everyone will always need and want clothes, there are lots of other companies selling them too.

However, if you can differentiate yourself with a unique selling point, you’re not directly competing for their customers.

Maybe you sell very high-end designer clothes, or perhaps you sell budget clothes. That could be clothes for babies, teens or for the older generation. Perhaps you sell clothes in a certain style.

Whichever route you pick, having this USP firm in your branding means you will always have your own loyal customers.

Think about what your business offers explicitly that your competitors don’t.

Update Your Marketing Techniques

Every business needs the right marketing techniques to reach potential customers, regardless of what it is that you sell.

The survival rate for corporations is relatively poor, with research suggesting that over ninety-five percent of small businesses fail within ten years.

But interestingly, this isn’t usually because the company offers an inferior product or even because it fails to deliver excellent customer service. But because it doesn’t position itself effectively in the current market climate.

This means that it’s merely not reaching customers, or appealing to them in the right way.

If it’s been a while since you reviewed your marketing methods, then now could be the time to do so.

Video marketing, social media marketing, and blogger outreach have all become increasingly popular in recent times, with of course methods like flyers and posters being ineffective for many businesses- unless you sell locally.

For example, if you’re a florist or baker who only sells to your local community instead of online then posters, business cards, billboards and other ‘old fashioned’ techniques will still be very effective for you. If you’re selling online or even globally, then you need marketing materials that will reach these markets.

Improve Your Office Space

You might not consider your office when you think about ways to get ahead of your competition. However, when you provide your workers with a pleasant space and the right equipment to do their job, this can help them to be more productive.

When more work is being done and your team is working more efficiently, this can mean that you are turning more of a profit and can overall boost your business.

A good office also has the benefit of making you look more professional to clients and customers, which in turn could create a good impression which leads to more sales.

Your office space shouldn’t be an afterthought. There are lots of benefits to upgrading but getting ahead of your competitors is just one of them.

Paint the walls a light, neutral shade to bounce the light around. Adjust the layout so that your workers don’t feel cramped or claustrophobic.

Ideally, put desks near windows to take advantage of the mood-boosting natural daylight. Add plants which have been shown to boost productivity, and have your office professionally cleaned regularly so that it stays nice.

You don’t have to spend a fortune, simple changes can be effective and really can make a difference.

Related: 7 Budget-Friendly Office Decorating Ideas for Your Small Business

Sell Worldwide

6 Things You Should Know Before Starting a Company

When you start selling your product or services worldwide, it allows you to enter into foreign markets and make more money. If this is something your competitors haven’t done, it allows you to get ahead. If they have, following in their footsteps stops you from falling behind.

There are lots of things to consider when you’re planning on expanding to sell worldwide.

You will probably need to create new departments and hire new staff. You may need to outsource areas like fulfillment and shipping unless you plan on investing in your own fleet.

There are lots of kinks to work out in the beginning, but it’s an extremely worthwhile step.

Seek Professional Help or Outsource When Needed

Even if your business is doing very well and turning a profit, there are still likely to be things that crop up that it’s worth calling in the professionals for.

This could be outsourcing areas of your business to a third party on a permanent basis or just hiring a freelancer to create your blog content, video content or create you an app or website.

Take software, for example. This is incredibly complex and something that only true proven software companies with expertise in the area are going to know about.

They can create custom programs and software to be utilized by your business. Specifically, increasing productivity and making everything much more efficient.

Know your strengths and weaknesses, don’t attempt to tackle it all yourself. It’s a good quality to know when you should take a step back and trust the job to a professional who knows what they’re doing.

Listen to Customer Feedback

Customer feedback is so important and something you should listen to carefully as a business owner.

None of us like to see negative comments, however these could be highlighting any problems and shortcomings within your business.

If your customer has been left dissatisfied, use these reviews to work out what steps you can take to prevent the same problem from occurring again.

You might need to change your delivery company, or improve the ingredients or materials in your products. You might need to improve the aesthetics of your shop, or retrain staff to provide better customer service.

Address any issues, so you can be sure you’re getting it right every time and for every customer. Positive reviews can do wonders for your business, and its this that could help a customer to decide between you and your competitor.

While you can’t give incentives for positive reviews legally, you can ask people nicely. Many will if they’ve had a good experience.

If you have a Facebook business page, be sure to install the section to allow customer reviews. These are great as people can see they’re written by real people.

Otherwise use third-party review sites, because these aren’t affiliated with you in any way customers will know that they can be trusted.

Keeping your head above water as a business can be tricky enough.

Doing so, while also keeping an eye on what your competitors are up to is even more difficult still. But it’s something you need to be well aware of if you want your venture to be a success.

Measure your own successes by how much you improve each year, but also ensure you’re doing what you can to keep up with the competition and stay relevant to customers.

What steps are you currently taking to stay ahead of your competition in business?

When you’re running a business, it’s not just your own venture you need to be keeping tabs on. Here are just a few of the ways you can ensure you’re keeping ahead of your competition.