5 ways to beat your competitors

Change is inevitable in every industry. Franchisors who recognise and respond to these opportunities before their competitors give themselves and their franchisees an edge.

Often it’s difficult to realise that limitations in business growth are self-imposed by mind maps from former success; past perceptions limit what we ‘see’.

So here are some tips on how we can overcome fear of change and stand out from the competition in an ever-shifting environment.

1. Stay ahead of the pack

New competitors are entering your market. It seems that every day the world moves faster. New breakthroughs are announced and technologies are released regularly.

The emergence of a younger workforce, more conditioned to accept this culture of permanent change, means established companies cannot be afraid to try new things if they want to stay relevant. 

More customer-friendly and more efficient competitors will keep launching. Great examples are online on-demand video services like Youtube, Netflix and Amazon Prime, which are steadily eating into the audience of traditional terrestrial broadcasters.

It’s important for your business to be aware of new competitors and emerging innovations so it can stay ahead of the curve.

2. Be open to evolving your product offering

Accept that resistance to change is normal. Unfortunately over time, most teams and individuals become content to do what’s worked in the past and are often surprised when new competition begins stealing their customers. This resistance to change is often pervasive and cultural, particularly among well established businesses.

There also comes a time where the existing structure no longer serves the customer. Be open to evolving product offerings and take the time to explore and implement creative ideas that allow you to cater to your target audience.

3. Free up resources for strategy innovation

Improve your internal operations first. Often I hear people say ‘I’m too busy to think about the future.’ They’re continually fighting fires, and dealing with inefficient day-to-day processes. 

It's important to regularly challenge the status quo, and ask 'Why do we do things that way? Why are there manual steps here? Can this be automated?' Change and innovation can come from any level of an organisation. So how can we free up time?

I argue you should be using software to run your business. Whether working on projects or ongoing operational tasks, modern businesses should have an online work management system where they can see what everyone's working on. 

Your team members should be able to see and collaborate on all their tasks assignments, set up recurring tasks, and develop project templates to save time.”

4. Lead from the front

Proactively innovate in your market. During steady growth stages and when businesses have a good cash flow, they often grow complacent, expecting everything to continue running smoothly.

However, this is the best time to plan the next growth and diversification strategy. Too many companies wait until they fall on desperate times to consider change. It’s important to set time aside to talk to customers and ask them how your service could be improved and also take time to research your competitors to see what they’re doing.

5. Treat change initiatives like startup projects

Whenever you would like to try embracing a new innovation, treat it like a startup project. Create a project in a project management system, invite relevant team members and collaborate on the tasks that will be involved. Set deadlines, brainstorm ambitious goals and encourage your team to freely exchange ideas.

Experiment, test and don’t be afraid to pivot your approach.

There are many businesses in different industries that can learn from a ‘startup culture’ where change is embraced and innovation is the new normal. With structure comes success.