Kayla is the co-founder of Lullaby Baby store and lullabybaby.com. She created and runs Yanuk, a local Crown Heights organization that help moms with babies in the NICU with breastfeeding support and equipment.
I have been developing a line of women's tznius clothing and I am close to taking my products to market.
While I do believe in the line, I often feel intimidated by the competition and I feel myself too intimidated to take the plunge!
What can I do to prepare myself to launch and find success in a competitive marketplace?
Congratulations on your new venture. It sounds really exciting!
Your concerns about your competition are not only completely valid, but they happen to be the very same ones I had before opening Lullaby Baby. In fact, I still hang on to those concerns every single day!
Until you dominate your industry, there will always be another company that has been around longer, has deeper pockets and better resources. Knowing this doesn’t intimidate me, it just provides me with the incentive to work smarter be better than the competition. This ultimately leads to Lullaby Baby providing a better overall consumer experience, which helps ensure the longevity of my business.
Here are a couple of suggestions that have worked well for me:
Focus on your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Often it’s a combination of your product, ethos as a business owner, your team, and all the factors that differentiate you from your competition. Once you've established this I would suggest that you focus your sales, operations, and marketing efforts to emphasize the unique customer experience that only you can offer.
Your personal touch, your agility, your passion, and your values separate your business from the rest.
Use that to your advantage!
Find your niche
Focus your energies on first identifying your ideal customer, then developing a plan to win them over. In choosing to attract customers who need and value your services, you will secure your market share, even in the face of competition.
Know your competition
It’s important to know your competition inside and out. What are they doing differently? What are they good at? What are their weaknesses?
The answers to those questions gives you the opportunity to step-in and step-up your game in these areas. To begin your research start by becoming a secret shopper and check out online reviews.
Websites like Yelp, Google Reviews, and local community discussion boards offer honest customer reviews and opinions of businesses.
This is the gentle art of cooperating with companies that might traditionally be considered your competition. Co-competition means teaming up with complementary businesses to market your companies together. Done right, it can boost business for both of you.
Stay Ahead of the Curb
Businesses that plan for growth are more successful than those that are happy to stay still. Keep up with developments in your industry, follow consumer trends, invest in new technology and -most crucially - have a clear idea of where you want to be in one, three and five years' time.
You may find, as I have, that when you start to achieve success, competitors that once paid you no mind will try to emulate your business model (and usually fail in the process), rather than continue in their own niche.
This is affirmation that you are doing something right.
Wishing you much success on your new venture!