Marketing Your Business Part 3 of 3
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Marketing Your Business Part 3 of 3


English vocabulary and phrases, Business English: target market, targeting, marketing, marketing strategy, competition, customer, market.

In the second article in this series on Marketing Your Business, we focused on marketing and customers. This article will focus on marketing and competition, or other businesses who are doing what you are doing.

Why is it important to understand what your competition is doing? Competition or others, who are selling or providing products and services similar to you, may or may not be taking sales away from you. As a small business how do you have the time to know whom your competitors are you might ask? That is a very good question. Most local brick and mortar businesses probably know who the competition is in their local area. A small bookstore might know about all the bookstores in town or in his city. He of course surely knows about too. He might even have some strategies to counteract the competition as much as is possible.

If you are just starting out and maybe want to start a small business it is important to at least know whom your potential competitors might be. You may not be able to do anything about the competition but you can surely still do something about your customers, your products, and your services. How do you do that? First find out what your competitors are selling or what services that provide. That way you have some kind of benchmark and you can look at what they provide with what you want to provide or are providing. Most large businesses are always watching and looking at the products and services of its most important competition. They will either try to improve on what the competition has, find a new product to counteract the competition’s products, or find a niche that the competition is not involved in. This is a good strategy that a small business can use and most often must use to counteract competition.

As a small business, it’s more important to think in terms of competition as not necessarily competition but as resource for you to come up with a niche in the market that no one else is involved in. That way you aren’t directly in competition with other businesses that might be trying to do the same thing. It’s always important to look at other businesses and see what they are doing. Many times based on what they have or have done you can get new ideas to either improve on what someone else has done or come up with a completely new idea. Most knew business innovations are really not knew they are just improvements on what is already in the marketplace. As such an improvement is really a new niche.

How many times have you seen a product or service that wasn’t what you really wanted or needed and you’ve said “ I can improve on this product or service.”

In big business or small business it’s the same. Taking what the competition has and finding a ways to improve on existing products or services, is what 90% of most businesses really do. Most businesses don’t “reinvent the wheel”; they just take what’s in the market and change something here or there to find a new niche.

As a small business do you need to worry about the “big” guys in business? Not really because you don’t have the resources to compete with the “big guns”. What you need to do is find a niche product or service that they don’t have or don’t want to do. There are many thousand of examples of Internet businesses that have done just that. They have avoided direct competition with the “top guns” by providing products and services that no one else has, doesn’t want to do, or haven’t thought about.

The easiest place for a small business to compete or do business is the Internet. The Internet provides a “level playing field” that both the “big boys” and the ‘small fries” can have a successful business and make a profit. Of course it’s really not that easy but “all other things being equal” such as your business model and your own individual effort will go a long way to ensuring you have a successful business.

Again it’s important to think of competitor businesses as not necessarily competition but as a resource for ideas. Always find out what they are doing. Or at least keep an eye on them. You might be surprised and say hey “that’s a great product or idea they have, why didn’t I think of that too?” “What can I do too, or how can I improve on that?”

Another way to counteract the “competition” is to talk to customers. They are a great source of ideas for new products and services. They might give you insights on how to improve what you have, they might suggest how you can “beat the other guys products”, or they might say “ so and so has this product but we want something a little different.” Your best source, next to watching the “other guys” is to talk to your customers, as more often than not, “they know more about what is really happening in the marketplace” the you or your competitors do.

So as you begin a new business or are already doing a small business think of the “other guys” as not competition but as a resource for you to come up with new ideas for products and services that your customers want and need. You may surprise yourself as to how creative you are in creating new products or businesses.



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