What strategies can entrepreneurs use to stay competitive in their industry?

Here are 20 ways to stand out, gain followers, and succeed in today's competitive small business environment. One way to create a competitive advantage is to make the features or benefits of the product superior to those of the competition. For example, if you have a lawn service, offer them free clippings and borders. If you have a local pizza place, offer several healthy pizzas or fresh toppings instead of frozen ones.

If you offer HVAC services, offer a 90-day warranty. What is the source of the remarkable entrepreneurial vigour of these giant companies? Is it the result of your significant investments in strategic planning, which seem to have produced something like a qualitative leap in the sophistication of your strategic planning processes? If so, what lessons can be learned from the measures they have taken and from the experience they have gained? The quality of the Phase I strategy depends largely on the CEO and the senior team. Do they really know your company's products and markets and do they have a good idea of what the main competitors will do next? Based on their knowledge of their own cost structure, can they estimate what the impact of a change in product or marketing will be on their plants, distribution system, or sales force? If so, and if they don't expect the company to grow beyond traditional limits, they may not need to set up an expensive planning apparatus. Developing your competitive advantage starts with research and introspection.

It will take an honest review of who you are, what you do, what your competition is doing and what the drivers of the market are. However, the complexities of most large companies require more explicit documentation of Phase I strategies. Use Urban Outfitters as inspiration and consider ways to overcome the competition that involve improving an existing model, whether it's your current business model or one more common in your industry. One of the main weaknesses of the strategic planning processes of phases II and III is their inevitable entanglement in the formal corporate calendar.

To determine the ideal price, you need to have a clear idea of the price of competitors' products or services. Customer service stories about Zappos are the stuff of legends, like that of the customer service representative who bought a plane ticket to hand deliver a bag full of jewelry accidentally mailed in the mail with a return, or the representative who spent hours buying shoes for a customer on the competitor's website because Zappos had sold out. You might end up eating a smaller cake, but it's better than fighting big competitors for a small piece of a big cake. Entrepreneurship among managers and technical staff at all levels is a form of behavior valued in strategically managed companies.

If you want to outperform your competition, one of the best small business strategies you can employ is to simply offer outstanding products or services. Therefore, strategic planning is packaged in parts relevant to individual decision makers, and the development of the strategy is linked to the implementation of the strategy as an explicit responsibility of operational management. If you have a good idea, there are likely dozens or even hundreds of competitive products or services out there. Instead of marginal improvements, a few more market shares, or a few percentage points of cost reduction, managers set ambitious goals that, if achieved, will translate into a sustainable competitive advantage for their company.