Can You Answer This Simple Question to Improve Your Business?

There are a ton of business books out there and new ones come out every year that try and teach you how to be better at business.

Some are useful but many more are not especially helpful.

But this is not going to be a reading suggestion list.

You probably don’t have time to read books. Or even if you do, but just want to cut to the chase on how to significantly improve your business quickly so you can grow faster, bring in more revenue, and generate more profits, I can help.

And you can start right now. Just ask yourself this honest question:

What does your competition do better than you?

Pretty simple, right?

Before you start though, let me clear up a couple of answers you might be tempted to give that won’t help:

  • Nothing! We are the best!

If this is your answer then I assume it’s because you are the head of a billion-dollar company that owns 90% or more of its market. No? Then my hunch is there are things you could do better and it would be to your benefit to discover them.

  • I don’t really care what my competition does- they do it their way, I do it mine.

I get this to a point – you didn’t get into business just strictly by copying someone else and this isn’t a suggestion to go try and replicate exactly what your competitors might be doing- that is a recipe for disaster! But that also doesn’t mean you can’t learn a thing or two from them.

So, how can you take this basic question and use it to immediately improve your business?

Well, here’s how!

Hopefully, your business already operates pretty smoothly and you have lots of happy customers. If so, then good job, but don’t take a break yet!

If not, either you’re just getting started or things just aren’t going as well as they could, then you can definitely use this approach.

The idea is to look at your competition and see what it is that they are doing better than you are and figure out how you can improve to at least match, or preferably, surpass, their performance.

Of course, when most people hear this they think about sales but this is really about all aspects of the business. You could look at the competition and see that they:

  • Get more referrals
  • Have less employee turnover
  • Partner with bigger names 
  • Reach more areas
  • Get more five-star reviews
  • Drive small trucks (or bigger trucks)
  • Offer more services (or fewer services) 
  • Do pricing differently 
  • Have simpler contracts / don’t use contracts 
  • Use different suppliers
  • Attend different industry events / don’t attend events at all
  • Train people in-house / only hire experienced employees

And so on. 

Now just because they do something different doesn’t necessarily mean it’s working out better for them- it could be worse and they could be thinking about changing to how you do it!

But it’s worth asking the question and more importantly, figuring out if the customers think it’s important.

One of the easiest ways to get started on this is by reading their reviews on Google, Yelp, TrustPilot, etc. See what customers had to say that they liked about the company and what they didn’t like.

If this is a direct competitor to you then chances are the customers are the same and they will like and dislike the same things about your business.

For example, suppose you notice that a few customers of your competitor mention they like that the business offers a simple one-page contract with very transparent pricing, and that really helped them decide to do business with the company.

Then, you look at your own contract that runs five pages and requires ten different lines to add up the price and then three more lines where the price can further change.

Do you think that might be a turn-off for some customers and you could potentially improve the design, flow, and simplicity of your customer contract? If that meant even 10% more sales, would that effort be worth it?

As you review what your competition does differently than you and keep an open mind on how some of those differences might work in their favor and be worth adopting on your end, you can make a priority list. The easiest changes with the biggest impact are the ones to work on first.

Still not sure if this is worth it or if your customers really care? Here’s another simple solution to that- ask them! Next time you’re sitting down with a customer and filling out your five-page contract, ask them if they would like it more if it was shorter, or if anything about it is unclear or confusing. If they admit yes, it is hard to follow and intimidating to sign, you have your answer.

I am not suggesting you copy your competition or try to follow their every move.

But I do know for a fact that by looking at those who are doing what you’re doing with as much or more success than you are having can probably teach you a thing or two.

You’d be silly not to absorb that lesson to your own benefit! 

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