Technology changes at an alarming pace and with the rise of social media, the latest advances are discussed in real time. Businesses must keep up in this fast-paced world and you need to be ahead of your game. We look at ways you can stay ahead of your competitors:
Keep track of competitors
It’s always a good idea to know what your competitors are up to. Visit their website, sign up to newsletters and follow their social media channels. Having a solid understanding of your competitors, what they are offering and their unique selling point (USP), whatever industry you’re involved in, is vital. If you can offer something your competitors aren’t then you’re halfway there.
Know your customers
You must know who your customers are. Who they are and what they want will determine where your business heads. Are your customers more interested in price or service? Technology or manual working? Understanding their needs will shape your business and neglecting this area is a definite no.
Be social media savvy
Social media has taken off as one of the main places to promote businesses. Once you have a solid understanding of your customer base, targeting through social media can be a huge asset. Ideally choose a couple of channels and do them well rather than trying to use every avenue going. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are the main four, but base it on which channels your existing or potential customers use. Post regularly, ideally at least three or four times a week to build a healthy following.
Most companies now have a blog or news section on their company website. Often uploaded regularly with current topics, they’re a great way to stay on top of what is happening in your industry. A lot of companies also publish blogs on LinkedIn, search for businesses operating in your field, follow or connect to them and you’ll be automatically updated each time they publish new content.
Nowadays there are part-time courses in almost anything. Search local colleges to see if there’s anything in your field. Keeping on top of the latest advances in your business can give you a head start. If there aren’t any local courses, there’s always the option of online courses. Again, many of these are listed on LinkedIn and some are even free!
If you prefer a shorter-burst of study, a conference is ideal. Usually running for a day or two they are a great way to learn something new, meet new contacts and talk to suppliers, potential customers and even competitors. A quick Google search for conferences in your subject should bring up a list of conferences or keep an eye on social media as companies such as www.v4bprofessions.co.uk list upcoming events.
Networking events are becoming more popular and can be found every week across the UK. Speaking to like-minded individuals may not only lead to future business but you could also learn a lot more about your industry. Advice obtained at networking events may also help you see your business from a different angle.
Target new markets
Without neglecting your existing customer base, you need to look at ways to expand your business and build new customers. Attending events and networking will open new doors but having a constantly evolving attitude will help adapt your business for potential new customers.