Ensuring You Have The Edge In Competitive Industries [Contributed Blog]

March 1, 2019 - 13 minutes read - Business Growth

The competitive edge is something that is always searched for, no matter what industry is currently being considered as an example. Even two general stores on the same street are competing for customers and must run promotions to ensure that people passing by are visiting their store over the competition. Of course, there’s a great degree of complexity in this.

For example, let’s continue to use the illustration of these two competing, tangible retail stores. It might be that one offers plenty of promotions with written-on large stickers in the window, thus having better prices. But the other store might have a nicer, more attractive and flower-bedded exterior, helping it look like the premium option. Both start to specialize, but they are competitive in different ways. Who ends up with the competitive edge depends on the customer and what happens when the customer enters the store.

While there is a great deal of complexity regarding competitive industries, it is possible to establish yourself in your industry with a sharpened sword, provided you’re looking to find out where the whetstone is. With our advice, that will be a little easier.

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Ways to Gain Competitive Edge:

A Comprehensive Vision

Your business needs a comprehensive vision in order to direct its actions towards a singular purpose. It is your job as a leader for you to design this well, and to compare it to your peers in the marketplace. For example, you might decide that similar products in your industry might be extremely popular and the market might look impenetrable from this perspective. But you might also realize that none of those other offerings are seemingly concerned with working with sustainable avenues of production. This might mean that positioning yourself as the business most looking forward to revolutionizing the industry can be an extremely worthwhile thing to consider, and can help define your competitive edge

This means that your mission statement, your branding, and your overall productive output, sustainability, and ethical production should be shouted from the heavens. This can work as its own form of branding. There are many, many different directions that you might outline in your vision, as well as tangible and targeted goals to achieve a certain growth by a certain time, or perhaps becoming a publicly listed company in the future. A comprehensive vision matters and can unify the decisions you make in the beginning, but will also help maintain your competitive edge and continually searching for that which no one else is offering.

Workflow Optimization

Workflow optimization truly matters on obtaining a significant competitive edge. It’s important for your staff to both skilled, talented and present of course, but if the tools you give them are less than any other firm, they are going to struggle no matter how hard they work. It’s important to invest in your staff, but often the most time-saving or efficient measures aren’t that expensive.

For example, you might decide to open a suite business platform which gives everyone a unified email extension, also allowing you to assign permissions to documents and thus developing a kind of easy-to-maintain security and to provide them with only the materials they will ever need, streamlining the daily working efforts they must try and put into place.

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But workflow can be optimized in more ways that one. While there are options that will work in many industries, sometimes implementing a solution specified for your particular requirements can help you adapt to the changing standard of how businesses are doing things within your field. For example, it might be that utilizing Copper for the leading CRM can help real estate agents or brokers further manage the complex tides of their field. Syncing with already-established Google suite offerings, the previous unified online collective you have already built can take advantage of these suites and potentially help streamline the end experience for the home buyer.

What counts as a workflow might also change from business to business. While the term is usually supposed to suggest the working capacity utilized on a desktop or through a device, it can also stretch to more tangible and easy-to-imagine matters. For example, how is the safety equipment distributed before a complex factory task must be committed? Do employees have easy access to securely held items, or must they take time finding them? Ensuring that the tools are only seconds or minutes away from your employees at all times must be the goal.

Creating A Desirable Work Environment

Too many firms are interested in cost-cutting and pushing staff overtime to the expense of creating a desirable working environment. With the prevalence of social media, it is easier than ever for staff members to warn away potential recruitment hopefuls thanks to workplace pressure or toxicity. Sites such as GlassDoor offer a range of workplace reviews and interview suggestions, and any self-respecting professional will often check a website like this if they aren’t currently choosing a job out of deep necessity online.

This is a good thing. It means that businesses are more accountable, and if they want to continue stocking their ranks with highly skilled employees, they must earn that right by creating a place those kinds of people would like to work. But the positive part here is that a business simply crafting an office experience for highly-skilled employees will be easy to see through. A business must make the workday pleasant or at least fair for the entire workforce, from top to bottom. This is how you get a spot recruiting from the best universities, having staff leave your competitors and potentially even training young people with potential through decades of loyalty to your firm.

It’s pretty simple to consider how to start something like this off. For example, the competitive edge might be in how your office is designed, or how well it’s cleaned, or how good your canteen is, or what the staff training policy is like. With a cohesive set of good decisions in this direction, you might be truly amazed as to the impressive effect you can have here. So experiment, see what works, and always be sure to listen to your staff from the offset. You never know just how worthwhile your efforts may be.

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Branding Yourself Efficiently

It’s essential to brand yourself well. Don’t get too clever here. Don’t try to copy the leaders in your field. Instead opt for simple, clean and professional branding. Try to have your business name sound like something worthwhile in that field. For example, if selling a cleaning product, ‘Stinky’s Washing Up Liquid’ might not be the greatest product or business name. Consider the color palette you’ll use and keep it relatively uniform throughout all your branding.

Also, understand that branding is much more than a simple logo and font of your business text. It’s how navigable and clean your website is, what kind of packaging you utilize and how the small print is formatted in your customer policies. It’s how your support staff answers the phone or the tone of the automated answering guide. It’s the uniforms that your staff wear, or perhaps how your business HQ looks from the outside. Branding yourself efficiently means taking a careful and closer look at every aspect of your business, and trying to make it efficient, original, but most of all, practically relevant.

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Caring About Your Impact

Caring about your impact on the world and communities at large is essential. Of course, it’s easy to think about your environmental impact from the offset when confronted with this kind of personal reflection, but as we’ve already suggested this as part of your personal planning, we’re going to leave further explanations. Luckily, that’s hardly the only place your impact might reach. For example, consider your customers. Would you reach more people if you crafted a ‘sensitive skin’ version of the product you are so well known for? Would it be efficient to act as a patron for certain pushers in your industry, support certain content creators making the industry better, or perhaps deciding to use a percentage of recycled goods in your inventory by 2022?

Caring about your impact might be conducting further research to see how you can change certain attitudes about your product for the better. For example, let’s say you sell spirits, perhaps a whiskey blend. You might decide that investing in alcoholic recovery support groups could help offset some of the damage you may not have been primarily responsible for, but is a by-product of your product existing in the first place This is only one, simple and obvious example, to help you think a little deeper into the full life cycle of your business, and how you can create a lasting impact.

With these tips, we truly hope that you’ll find a solid means to implement a competitive edge in the fields you and your business care about.

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