Five ways to gain a competitive edge, no matter your industry

Mokhtar Jabli is founder and CEO of The Nightfall groupa premier luxury rental and travel concierge service.

Business owners and entrepreneurs are constantly working to increase customers and maintain revenue by discovering really smart ways to improve their business. Once you have a decent offering and a strong customer base, how will you scale your business for long-term customer retention and profitability?

The key to profitably scaling your business is gaining a competitive advantage in your industry and target markets. While this can be done in several ways, here are five insights from years of direct experience that can help you gain the competitive edge you need to grow your business.

1. Provide exceptional services.

It’s no secret that for your business to survive, you need an excellent product or service offering. Think of your offering from the lens of your customer. Is there anything you could do to differentiate the product or service from direct competitors? Are there any pain points your customers may be facing? Use that first-hand experience and implement the necessary improvements to position your product or service better than others in your industry.

Another opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition is to ensure that your customer service is treated as equally important as the product or service itself. All businesses should be set up with a model of delivering excellent service through their customer service center and providing a seamless way to reach a team to resolve the issue. Delivering exceptional service goes beyond the product or service itself. It also affects the team and people who manage that product or service, ensuring you have a great team of people who are passionate about your business and its overall success.

2. Do everything for your customers.

Making sure your customers have a great customer experience should be top priority for all business owners. According to a 2018 PwC questionnaire, “Nearly 80% of US consumers point to speed, convenience, expert assistance and friendly service as the most important elements of a positive customer experience.” Regardless of your industry, you can focus on these elements in your own business to ensure you exceed customer expectations and scale your business appropriately.

Going out of your way for your customers shows that you care about them and their needs, and it also allows them to share their positive experiences with other potential customers, resulting in more business opportunities. This can look like a number of things depending on what industry you’re in, but a few ideas include adding personalization for your customers, soliciting customer feedback to improve their experience, and more. In her Council articleKatharine Nester gives some great tips on this, highlighting ways to consistently delight your customers, including making the best first impression, moving through the customer journey, and creating a connection to build lasting relationships .

3. Invest in the right marketing for your business.

Marketing is an important part of any business to maintain credibility and increase brand awareness. Once your business is in the growth phase, consider investing in a marketing agency that works within your industry and targets locations for local, regional and/or national exposure. There are many ways you can ensure business success through integrated communications capabilities and by making your marketing more targeted and smarter. Researching your competitors, analyzing your marketing performance over time and taking a personalized approach to your customers are the keys to giving your business the competitive edge it needs.

4. Sign up for industry awards.

Once your business is established and growing its customer base and sales, it’s time to start looking for ways to showcase your business’s success and increase brand recognition and credibility. One of the ways my company, The Nightfall Group, does this is by soliciting awards in the corporate and travel/hospitality industries. Awards can be used for ongoing opportunities for maximum brand exposure and exposure.

Researching and applying for awards that are a good fit for your business, whether industry-wide, such as awards for fastest growing companies, or awards specific to your niche industry, can help you position your company as a market leader among your competitors and for additional exposure, notoriety and credibility when rewarded with awards and/or recognition.

5. Find like-minded partners.

Partnerships are necessary for any business looking to scale, and they can give your company a competitive advantage. Start with an internal audit of your company and its needs, asking yourself some of the following questions: Does your company have an effective team? Do you provide a service that uses products? Does your company have a community presence or need an employee refund program?

Once you’ve determined the answers to these questions and any others, you can begin to research the types of partnerships you want to form. Finding the right partners takes time to make sure it makes business sense, so make a checklist of what you’re looking for in a partner, such as: location, size, local or community aspect, passion/drive, and anything else that you may be searching quickly through partners that aren’t aligned with your company’s goals.

Being compared to your competition can be good for your business, but even better is being seen as a leader among your competitors. By providing exceptional services, going the extra mile for your customers, investing in the right marketing, requesting industry awards, and finding like-minded partners for your business, you can gain the competitive edge in your industry and help your business grow beyond your greatest expectations. Business Council is the leading growth and networking organization for entrepreneurs and leaders. Am I eligible?