How to stay ahead of the crowd

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Staying at the forefront of competition in today’s advancing world is challenging. Entrepreneurs need more than innovative thinking to stand out from the crowd.

Becoming a leader in your industry requires strategy and a willingness to leave behind old success formulas. Too many businesses place energy into thinking about what they have done in the past when they should be thinking about what can be achieved in the future. Here are some ways entrepreneurs can keep ahead of their competitors:

Know your competitors
Keeping an eye on your competitors will help you to keep ahead of developments and opportunities in your industry. The actions of your competitors can pose serious threats to your business if you do not have tactics in place to respond to their actions. Know who your competitors are, what they offer, their customers and unique selling point.

Plan for growth
Successful businesses plan and monitor progress regularly. Where do you envision your business to be in one, five or even 10 years from now? Do you wish to broaden your customer base or leverage off new technologies? These are just a few questions to ask yourself. Creating goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely is one of the best ways to stay competitive. Be sure to check in with your goals frequently and make any necessary adjustments. Staying ahead of the crowd means responding to change as soon (or even before) it evolves.

Think outside the box
Competitors can easily predict your moves if you repeat the same behaviour. Instead of sticking with your niche; experiment with a different approach, take on a new opportunity or pursue a new idea. Is there a segment of the market that competitors are not reaching or under-serving that you could explore? Listening and reacting to feedback from suppliers, customers, the community and staff is a great way to brainstorm ideas for improvement.

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