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Gaining competitive advantage is very important to the success of just about any type of business. Finding ways to stand out from other companies offering similar goods and services increases the opportunities to connect with consumers and build a loyal client base that continues to grow over time. Building and increasing a competitive advantage typically focuses around in getting to know the competition well, anticipating consumer needs, and maintaining a level of quality that is above the standards of that industry.
One of the key strategies used in gaining competitive advantage is to take a long look at who is attempting to sell similar products to the targeted consumer base. Identifying such key factors as the current share of that market the competitor holds, the quality of the products offered, and the marketing strategies employed by those competitors will often make a huge difference in diffusing their appeal within the marketplace, usually by making sure that your products have a higher profile than the rest, and offer some type of value added that is likely to prompt consumers to take a second look.
Along with knowing the competition and the methods employed, a business that is truly interested in gaining competitive advantage will also make it a point to analyze the consumer market. The idea is to not only identify how your products meet current needs, but to look for clues regarding future needs of those same consumers. Moving early to meet those needs before they become apparent can position a company to offer something that consumers discover and quickly begin purchasing before the competition even begins the development of a similar product. In the interim, your product gains name recognition and becomes the standard that similar products must live up to in order to be considered.
All through the process, gaining competitive advantage requires close attention to quality. While a lot of emphasis on price will also come into play, even a low price will not sustain a product in the long-term if consumers find the good or service to be inferior. Many companies have established a good name in the industry only to lose that reputation by beginning to cut corners and create a lower quality product, prompting consumers to turn their attention toward competitors who may cost a little more but offer products that offer significantly greater satisfaction. Make sure the products offered in the marketplace not only meet industry standards but also exceed them in some way. Doing so will go a long way toward gaining competitive advantage and maintaining that edge for many years to come.