Every business owner should ask themselves, “What makes our company different from everybody else, and why should people choose us over our competitors?” As business coaches, we advise small business owners to ask themselves these two questions on a regular basis. As an entrepreneur, these questions should always be in the back of your mind as you’re looking for ways to increase your brand awareness.

As you establish your company’s presence, your leverage increases accordingly, but you have to harness your influence and take advantage of it. In today’s competitive market, business owners need every advantage they can get, especially in regards to customer acquisition and retention.

The road to gaining a “competitive advantage” in the world of business isn’t easy, but the journey is worth it and the rewards can be monumental. To that end, here are five ways to gain a competitive advantage in the small business world:

1. Stay ahead of the curve.

Sales are vital to all businesses, but there’s a big difference between getting customers and retaining them. If you’re always looking for new customers, clients, or prospects, the revolving door of customers will get old fast, plus it’s not scalable. A better approach is to establish yourself as a leading authority, influencer, or trusted advisor in your industry. This way, you stay ahead of the curve.

Becoming a thought leader takes dedication, continuous education, and work, but believe us the rewards can be substantial. As an expert in your field, people come to you. They seek you out vs. you having to chase prospects down at every turn. Become an influencer in your field and people will be honored to work with you. 

2. Be prepared to pivot.

Business is a lot like a laboratory. You’re constantly testing out ideas inside and outside the office. If something doesn’t work, or if plans fail, be prepared to pivot and adapt to market conditions. If something in the economy or market changes and it impacts your business, don’t waste time doing what no longer works. In other words, don’t get too attached to a product, idea, or service that isn’t beneficial to your bottom line. 

3. Learn from others’ mistakes.

While mistakes are a part of business ownership, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t work on minimizing and preventing them. And, you don’t have to be alone in this endeavor. By working with a business coach, you can be educated on the mistakes made by other business owners before you.

A coach can tell you what’s working, and you can find ways to make things even better. As a smart business owner, you will learn from the mistakes you make, but if you want to take your business to the next level and shorten your learning curve, you’ll heed your coach’s advice and learn from others’ mistakes. You could also avoid wasting a lot of time and money by taking a coach’s advice. 

4. Focus on building a great team.

One of the biggest problems our business coaches have observed with entrepreneurs is their difficulty delegating, “letting go of the reins” so to speak. The sooner you realize that you can’t do it all yourself, the better. Realize that not only do you need a solid team, you need to lead from the front.

In professional sports, the best teams are supportive, play well together, and have singular focus on winning. It’s the same with building a business. To build your dream team, surround yourself with positive people whose strengths complement each other’s weaknesses. People who build each other up, not tear each other down. 

5. Build a loyal fan base.

Success in business is all about delivering and exceeding expectations. Want to build a loyal fan base who will rave about your business to friends and family? Learn how to effectively manage your promises to customers and vendors. The idea is to keep your word, consistently deliver, and exceed all of your customers’ expectations. It’s much easier and cost-effective to take care of the customers you have than it is to acquire new ones.

As a small business owner, strive to create advocates who are crazy about your business the way Apple and Amazon customers are. Not because you ask for referrals, but because they are so happy with your products and services, that they want to.

To develop a business where outstanding service affects every person in your organization, from the receptionist to the CFO, create a culture where employees go above and beyond to exceed your clients’ needs. For help getting there faster, we invite you to connect with one of our skilled business coaches.