Have you ever heard the phrase "there's only so much pie to go around"? It's a popular saying in business, and for a good reason. When we talk about "pie," we're referring to market share—available customers. Like pie, there are only so many customers to go around, and every business is hungry for a bigger slice. So, how do you increase your share of that pie? Analyze Business Competition, Customers, and the Market Don’t let the hunger for a larger piece of the pie blind you from the power of research and planning. The most successful businesses are the ones whose leaders take the time to analyze data and trends before making strategic decisions.By analyzing your competitors, customers, and the market, you can gain a competitive advantage and increase your odds of success. Analyzing competition helps you identify their strengths and weaknesses, providing perspective on how you can differentiate your business and add value. Understanding your customers helps you tailor products and services to better meet their needs and gives you the insight to make your marketing efforts more effective. Researching the market offers insight into trends, opportunities, and potential threats, helping you successfully guide your company forward.By investing time and resources to study your competition, customers, and market, you can make more informed decisions that help you out-maneuver your competition. You can continue reading more about analyzing competitors in this guide: Market Competitor Strategies: Analyzing Your Small Business Competition. Find and Execute a Differentiation Strategy One of the best ways to succeed against the competition is to find ways to stand out from the crowd and differentiate your business. A differentiation strategy is based on offering some unique or different value that cannot be easily matched within your market. This could be a unique product or service, incredible customer service, or intangible value like brand reputation. If customers know that you’re the only business in town with that value, then you’re likely to earn their business. By understanding what makes your business different and focusing on ways to cultivate and communicate that differentiation, you can build brand loyalty and create value that sets you apart and is hard for your competitors to replicate. You can continue learning more about techniques to help you differentiate your small business in this guide: Market Competitor Strategies: Differentiate Your Small Business. Emphasize Customer Loyalty Customer acquisition and sales strategies are at the forefront of most small businesses' minds, but what about the customers you already have? Customer loyalty can be one of your most valuable weapons against competitors. Loyal customers provide a stable revenue source—but more than that—they can actually drive new business at a significantly higher success rate. Some reports estimate that referral business converts at a 3-5x higher rate than non-referral customers and leads to 25% higher profit margins. Cultivating loyalty with your customers is not like flipping a switch, you need to develop a comprehensive strategy that covers areas like customer service, quality control, product development, and other techniques which create a seamless and positive customer experience for new and repeat customers. From greeting and onboarding new customers to managing complaints and nurturing past customers, the art of customer loyalty is all-encompassing. For more strategies on building customer loyalty in your small business, read this guide: Ideas To Try: Small Business Customer Loyalty Program. Respond Strategically to Moves by Your Competition Monitoring your competitors is important, but knowing how and when to react to their strategic moves can help you gain market share. For example, if a direct competitor lowers their prices, how will you react? Will you lower your prices to match, would you double down on marketing to communicate your advantage, or would you do nothing at all? Responding strategically to your competitors’ moves requires perspective and method—and what may make sense for one scenario may not for the next. Whether it’s a former employee starting a rival business or a competitor launching a new product, your competition will make moves to grow the size of their pie. It’s important to realize that you can’t control your competition, but you can control how you respond—and by remaining agile, you can react to the strategic moves of your competition and increase your odds for success. For more insight into learning how and when to respond to competitors’ strategic moves, read this guide: Market Competitor Strategies: Responding to the Moves of Your Direct Competition Take Calculated Risks As a small business owner, taking calculated risks is how you beat the competition. While taking risks is inherently scary and brings in the possibility of failure, it’s how you remain competitive in today’s ever-changing landscape. Now, more than ever is a great time for you to consider taking calculated risks as it relates to scaling your small business. With an anticipated recession on the horizon, many of your competitors are playing it safe and avoiding risks. However, that’s the exact time to consider taking a chance. You’re zigging while your competitors are zagging—a strategy that can help you quickly gain market share. John Quelch, University of Miami’s Dean of Business School said, “it’s well documented that investing in your business during a recession while competitors are cutting back can yield a greater ROI at a lower cost than investing in your business during good times.” If you’d like to learn more about investing in your business during a recession, read this guide: How Recessions Can Impact Borrowing and Lending. There’s Only So Much Pie to Go Around In today’s competitive landscape, successful business owners must not just understand the limitation of the pie, but they must realize that there are truly not enough slices to go around. Small business owners are no longer just competing with the direct competitors on Main Street, they are competing globally and many with enterprise brands like Walmart or Amazon. While this reality might seem overwhelming and insurmountable, it’s far from it. By using the resources at your disposal and proven strategies, you can not just compete with these direct and indirect competitors, you can dominate. Remember, don’t strive for a slice of the pie—strive for the whole pie. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Lendio. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything. The information provided in this post is not intended to constitute business, legal, tax, or accounting advice and is provided for general informational purposes only. Readers should contact their attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor to obtain advice on any particular matter.