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How to Handle Competition in Business: 7 Tips to Beat Competition

Running a Business

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Competition is healthy for businesses – it will force you to innovate, staying ahead of the curve.

Yet that rivalry can also be intimidating.

You don’t want to back down but aren’t sure how to combat competition. Every company deals with this problem. Success comes down to developing a plan to help you better serve your customers, accurate branding, and team support.

Learn How to Be Competitive in Business

To compete in business, you need to know the game. Becoming a competitor in your industry requires research, strategy, and some risk-taking. Read on for seven real-world ideas of strategies you can use to learn how to beat your competition in business.

1. Know Your Customers

Did you know that 80% of companies lack customer data to build effective marketing campaigns?

Most marketers know their customers’ purchasing patterns, which is certainly helpful to track. But you can use so much more information to continue refining your marketing plans.

By knowing your customers, you can build a relationship between them and your company, extending the customer lifecycle beyond only a couple of purchases. Data can help you get to know your customers. For example, social activity often helps marketers uncover critical insights regarding the timing of purchases and related searches.

Using online tools such as Facebook’s Audience Insights, your company can better understand what ultimately triggers your customers to purchase.

2. Understand the Competition

To understand your competition, it is most important to examine the marketplace.

First, take a hard look at your competitor's activities. Does that company have intimate conversations with customers that lead to conversions? Do they have a unique angle from which to tell their story?

Second, look for what your competitor doesn’t do and then try to fill that part of the market.

In the 1980s, Canon and Xerox were competing in the market for copiers. Xerox thought Canon’s prices were ridiculously low based on their assumptions of the cost of creating a copier.

Examining the market, they found cheaper ways to make a copier. Through Xerox’s market research, they discovered that Canon found its way into the market through innovation, leading to a better market for consumers.

3. Highlight Your Difference

You can use your differences to learn how to handle competition in business.

After completing market research, understand what makes you different from the competition. Do you have more ethical sourcing for products? Or, maybe your prices are cheaper. Perhaps you have an angle to your company’s story that could push you above the competition.

In the case of IKEA’s 2011 catalog, IKEA knew they had the resources to do something extra special with their publication. While IKEA’s print catalog had more competition, the company decided that simply moving to a digital platform was insufficient.

So, they used their marketing resources to create an augmented reality version. Just by understanding what they could do differently, IKEA’s design overhaul doubled the time customers spent browsing the catalog.

4. Clarify Your Message

Your company needs a clear message to attract customers. Customers want to know what you can do for them that no one else can, and that is how you will win their business.

It is not enough to throw a message into the void and hope it sticks with someone. Instead, craft a narrative that will attract customers.

The car rental service Enterprise clarifies its messaging whenever it communicates with customers.

With each communication, Enterprise considers the specific audience it is trying to reach and then considers what tone or message will be the most effective to extend the customer lifecycle.

By consciously considering your audience with each message, you, too, will be able to communicate more clearly with consumers.

5. Explore Strategic Partnership Opportunities

For businesses, partnership opportunities are very popular right now. Most businesses are reaching out to others, hoping to reach a new market or demographic. These symbiotic relationships help both partners by providing some opportunity that was not otherwise attainable.

When considering partnerships, consider what your company needs to succeed and act on that opportunity.

Starbucks has partnered with Earthwatch since 2001. One goal of this partnership was to introduce Starbucks employees to the scientific research behind coffee beans, which benefitted Earthwatch’s goals. Additionally, Starbucks was able to increase employee engagement through this partnership.

The partnership helped Starbucks develop its ethical approach to coffee while assisting Earthwatch in spreading sustainable and scientific practices.

6. Keep Innovating

In today’s world, it is crucial to iterate, iterate, and iterate. That should be your marketing team’s mantra in today’s constantly shifting world of online media. As pointed out earlier, your new and old markets also benefit from innovation.

By constantly innovating, your team will stay focused on the goal while keeping your customers interested in your company.

Older companies are great sources of innovation leadership. How have they managed to keep up with the times? What company policies allow them to continue to innovate and change while functioning well for their customer base?

These questions will help you see the logic of innovation, even when it seems out of reach.

7. Look After Your Team

Your products are only as good as your team. This may not seem like the most obvious tactic in learning how to handle competition in business. However, you can also keep your team productive by keeping them happy.

It may not be necessary to get everyone a beanbag chair or to have some kegs on tap as many companies think. Listen to your team when they tell you what they need to be happy, not what trends think they need.

Case studies from Snack Nation can teach you how to retain your best employees. Most employees only ask for trust, professional development, collaboration, and the opportunity to take ownership of their work. Allow your employees these opportunities, and you may find that you have happier employees and lower turnover.

Helping your employees find happiness in their work will lead to dedication from employees – and this is where you can beat your competition.

Equipped for Competition

There are a million ways to combat competition in business, but which are suitable for your company? Following these strategies to handle competition in your business will help you better understand what your customers need.

With these ideas, you can be sure your customers will keep coming back. Remember, an unsuccessful idea is only a failure if you stop trying.


  • What are the most important competitor business metrics to consider?
    Competitor value propositions, engagement campaigns, pricing, and what they are not doing. All of these can help provide insights into why they are successful, and how you can emulate or innovate on that success.
  • What is competition in business?
    Competition in business refers to companies trying to outdo each other and sell more goods and services than similar businesses. The severity of this competition can vary drastically by industry. Winners in business competition have higher revenue and profit, more sales, happier customers, and a strong reputation.

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