According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are 28.8 million small businesses in the United States. Small businesses account for 99.7 percent of all business in the United States.
In addition, about two-thirds of businesses survive two years in business, half of all businesses will survive five years and one-third will survive 10. The longer a company has been in business, the more likely it is to stay in business. The first few years are always the hardest.
One of the things that small business owners can do to stay afloat is to learn from each other. Here are five ways new small business owners can learn from their competition.
1. Have Business Model In Place
When you have a business model in place, you have an outline for a plan of success. You can establish this business model by talking to other small business owners who have been through it before. What did they do to come up with their model? Who did they talk to? Did they hire someone to come up with the model? You need to find out how other companies do their business. How do they monetize their products and offer it to customers? Answering these questions will give you a great idea of what services your business will offer.
2. Monitor Their Online Marketing Strategy
You can significantly improve your own social media marketing strategy by taking a look at your competition. How are other small businesses using social media and other platforms to maximize their revenue? These tools allow you to monitor the performance of others and compare. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and other social sites have monitoring tools to help you accomplish this very important task.
3. Analyze The Market
Being able to identify the competitors who are already in the business and what separates them from their peers is vital. Having an understanding of the market will help you set realistic goals while trying to co-exist with everyone else. What is working for them may not work for you. Nevertheless, you can open the doors to larger opportunities by analyzing the market tactics of your competition.
4. Listen To Your Customers
Understanding who your customers are is critical to being a successful business, no matter what your size. By listening to your customers, and what they think about your peers, you will be able to give them exactly what they’re looking for, even if it’s different than what you had originally planned. Learning from the failures and successes of other businesses will help you create a roadmap to reach new heights.
5. Find A Way To Differentiate Yourself
If you find out your competition is doing something better than you, it’s time to respond and make some changes. It could be anything from trying to improve customer service, lowering your prices or updating the products you provide.
Subtle things like redesigning your literature and website to changing suppliers can also help.
Try to innovate, not imitate. Find out what you can do better and add more value. Just remember the rules on patents, copyright and design rights.
Familiarity with your competitors is helpful, especially for those business owners just starting out. Not only will it help you succeed, but it will help you understand what to expect for the day-to-day running of your business.
The more informed you are – the better – especially when you’re applying for a loan or working with a financial institution.