Competitors will always be there, but it’s up to you whether they impact your business
You're bound to face competition running a septic pumping business. In fact, you probably had competitors in your market as soon as you opened your business.
Competitors can make your life interesting. Every customer you lose is lost to a competitor, so it’s as if they’re stealing your customers and your potential income right out of your pocket. Sometimes, they’ll undercut your prices. Sometimes, they’ll even lie about you and your service just to get an edge. Maybe the bigger chains seem to have slicker marketing and deeper pockets to attract more customers, leaving you in the dust.
It’s easy to become frustrated by the effort and the tactics your competitors use. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can employ to beat the competition — even if you are a smaller company.
Strategy #1: Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths
It’s tempting to look at your business and your competitors and attribute their success to key points of difference. But if you think of it with another mindset, you can actually out-compete them with the very things you think are hurting you. If the competition is big and you’re small, they likely treat customers as a number and you can give personal service. If they have slick marketing and you don’t, you can focus on educating your clients and serving them on a first-name basis. Make a list of everything you think they do better, and then turn that list around and see how you can rethink your business to highlight those differences in a positive way.
Strategy #2: Focus on a Smaller Area
Your competitors likely spend a lot of money broadcasting their names all over the city you do business in. Let them. Let them spend all that money to spread themselves thinly across your market. Take a different approach, and focus on just one area — such as one or two neighborhoods or subdivisions. You’ll spend the same amount of money as you always have on marketing (or possibly less), but you’ll start to see greater responses from your marketing because you can market more frequently to people. And because you’re focused, people will see your trucks in their neighborhood more often, which gives them a brand awareness of your company.
Strategy #3: Switch Customers
The competition only exists if you are both fighting for the same customer. The easiest way to completely eliminate your competition from being a factor is to switch your customers. Let the competitor have the customers they’re going after. Switch your focus to a different set of customers, or focus narrowly on one smaller market that you can master. A simple change like that will help you stand out while attracting customers.
Strategy #4: Serve Like You’ve Never Served Before
Your competitors may be spending a lot of money on marketing, or maybe they’re even saying untrue things about you. But there’s one area they can’t touch you on: service. Treat every customer like gold. Serve your customers to the highest degree possible. Make a list of all the ways you can serve your customers, and when you think “oh, that’s too much,” then you’ve only just started. Make the list of ways to serve your customers so long that you think it’s ridiculous. Now you’re ready to best your competition because they’ll never be able to serve your customers as much as you.
Strategy #5: Become a Master Referral Magnet
Wouldn’t it be great to get more customers than your competition without spending a dime? Referrals are a powerful way to get more customers (and more loyal customers), but few companies know how to do it well. Study how to get referrals, and you will get more customers with less marketing. Start by providing amazing service, and don’t forget to have your employees ask customers for referrals specifically.
About the Author: Mike Agugliaro is the “Business Warrior” and founder of CEO Warrior, a business consulting, training, and mentoring firm, providing tested and proven methods to defeat the roadblocks that prevent small to midsized businesses from achieving their ultimate success. He has also played a key role in building Gold Medal Services’ success as co-owner of the company. For more information about CEO Warrior, visit www.ceowarrior.com.