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Find your competitive edge to get ahead of the race

Build your competitive edge by improving on these five areas for differentiation
By Rafael Santos |

In the world of business, few establishments have zero competition. That is why finding and establishing your edge can help your business hold the lead over the other players in your industry.


Part of discovering your advantage is to study and report on the competition. Business intelligence may mean scouring the web for information about companies in the same field, making visits to their stores, or asking their customers about their service levels.


According to small business consultant Raymond Olager of Digital World Inc, a telecom firm that specializes in digital marketing, only when you have the lowdown on competing businesses can you begin looking for your competitive edge. In short, ask yourself what you can offer that your competitors cannot.


Olager outlines five areas to evaluate when looking to build an upper hand:
1. The target market. Look for gaps in the demographics which other businesses target. "Are there underserved markets within the market?  Does your competition miss out on some of the users by not effectively targeting them? Look at these factors and you may discover a goldmine for your business," Olager said.



2. Pricing. Matching or beating your competitors\\\' prices is a good way to lure customers, but it may not keep your finances healthy in the long run. "You can only beat prices if your overhead is low enough to make it work. Going for volume means you should consider the cost of inputs you have in the product. Special sales on hot items can be a more attractive option than always trying to beat the price of your competitor," Olager said.


3. Make it easier. People are always in a hurry, so the business that can find a way to expedite the sales process without compromising excellent service usually wins customers over. "Train your staff to become more proactive, and make sure that your service doesn\\\'t suffer because you want it to be faster. Faster should not mean rushed," Olager said.

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