Business success is essentially a function of how much competitive advantage you have in your business. This is especially true with companies that cater to a fast-moving market that has plenty of options from which to choose. So how do you beat your competitors and even get ahead of them? Know what they’re doing and take the right steps to get ahead of them.
This article shares some tips that will help you know what your competitors are doing and what steps you can take to get ahead.
Know your competition
Sounds obvious, right? Unfortunately, as obvious as this sounds, many businesses do not take the time to identify their competitors. Find out who your competitors are; identify their strengths and weaknesses, and learn from both. With this knowledge, you will be able to identify the areas you need to compete in and give your business a distinct voice.
How to know your competitors
Attend industry conferences
Analyse industry reports
Analyse your competitors' marketing strategies and pick learning points
Listen to your customers – especially the dissatisfied ones. The odds are that while they are complaining, they will list some other businesses that currently provide better services than you.
A sure way to keep ahead of your competition is to innovate constantly. Keep tweaking your products and service offerings. Remember: the fact that your business model is working fine does not mean that it cannot get better. So keep reinventing the wheel, keeping in mind that the world we now live in is continuously evolving.
Protect your innovations
There is nothing as frustrating as putting in hundreds of hours working on an innovative idea, only to hear that someone else had the idea as well – and has made sure that no one else can do the same thing. To avoid this kind of heartbreak, it is crucial that you protect your innovation as soon as you possibly can.
Kinds of protection available
There are four main kinds of protection available to businesses. They are trademarks, patents, copyright, and trade secrets.
Trademarks protect words, phrases, symbols, sounds, smells, and colour schemes. They distinguish your products and services from those of your competitors. They can be any of the elements named above or a combination of them.
Patents protect inventive products or processes. So if your manufacturing business has come up with a better way of mass-producing your products and increasing profit margin while maintaining quality, patent protection is your best bet.
Copyright protects the manner in which ideas are expressed. So if you have come up with an original artwork such as a new website or written content for your business, or work of artistic craftsmanship, copyright protection provides a right for you to stop competitors from copying that work. As a notification to third parties, you should add a statement you claim copyright on any relevant material, with a year and a copyright symbol.
Design registrations cover the specific appearance of your product. It is a limited form of protection but is quick and easy to obtain and a valuable asset for protecting against counterfeit or substantially similar products.
Trade secrets can also be a valuable tool to help protect your business and provide a competitive advantage by keeping confidential information of your business.
Competitor activity can be monitored by maintaining watches and searching the relevant Intellectual Property Office databases. An early warning of potential IP rights that could affect your business operations may be useful in planning early modifications or provide confirmation of your continued freedom to operate. Searches can also help reveal IP rights you may want to oppose or invalidate.
For more information on how to protect your business and keep ahead of your competitors, please send a message to us as BONDiP. We will be happy to answer all of your questions.