Respond instantly to Changing Times
If there is a product or service in your industry niche that you believe demonstrates promise and potential, initiate the test marketing campaign immediately and begin carrying it well before the big guys. Nokia lost its industry leadership position to Apple and Samsung because it didn't respond to the mobile platform wars in time and didn't embrace Mr. Android when it was supposed to do so. Word has it that Nokia will do so in March 2012 a strategic decision that is a year too late.
Streamline your Pricing Model
According to the comScore Holiday Report 2011 which we have referred to elsewhere in this edition of the newsletter, many shoppers were found basing their purchasing decisions only on price and a few courtesies such as free shipping and loyalty points. Some were even walking into the stores, checking the price of a product and shopping for a better price on the Internet right from the store after scanning the bar codes with their Internet-ready mobile phones, according to the report. This indicates clearly that price is indeed of the essence no matter what the gurus tell you about the magic mantra of business success. Look for more competitive vendors on trade boards such as Ali Baba. Attempt to negotiate prices and margins with your current suppliers. Look at drop shipping as a viable option to further reduce costs. Audit your supply chain for potential gaps and pitfalls that may be adding to your cost. Use an open source ERP such as Adempiere to manage your expenses and streamline productivity.
The Customer is always King
If you happen to be blessed with a large and loyal customer base which returns to you each time they need your product or service or have a reason to refer you to their friends, you have no cause for concern. Simply ensure that your customer community never remains static and continues to grow at all times. Deliver top flight customer service through potent customer support initiatives such as live chat software, e-mail support, text messaging and phone support where applicable. Live chat software will always remain a preferred option because it is not only affordable, it is reliable and rarely creates downtime issues. Moreover, it generates a paper trail of sorts through live chat transcripts which you can review daily to see what your customers are saying about you.
What we have described here is only a short sample of the proactive measures you can adopt to combat big time competition. However, it is a start and is bound to help you maintain your ground regardless of how many big time players emerge on the horizon.