Four ingredients every business needs to survive a competitive market

Standing out from the crowd can be hard for small businesses; here are four tips to help you survive in a competitive market.

Too often, you hear of individuals starting a business because they heard someone else had started one in a niche market and managed to succeed. While it’s a good thing to be inspired by others, it is ill-advised to attempt to accomplish what someone else has done without understanding how they went about achieving it.

Successful business people didn’t reach the heights they’ve attained based solely on luck. They deliberately orchestrated certain processes to work in their favour and help them reach their business goals. Of course, the same combination of factors will not always favourably contribute to everyone’s business’ success, but there are specific elements that have proven to effectively apply to a variety of scenarios.

These are as follows:

Healthy networking

Networking in business can be simply described as the process of building up useful contacts through effective communication.

No person or business can operate as an island, and this is why networking is necessary.
If you intend on being a successful business person, you’ll need to develop and maintain a working relationship with all the players in your business environment.

The essential players your business will be unable to do without, or will do well not to ignore include: your competitors, your clients (both potential and active), suppliers, distributors, the government and regulatory bodies, and other stakeholders.

Each one of these players in their own way influence the success of your business, and this is why it is necessary for you to build a healthy working relationship with the main parties in each and every one of them.

Examples of what your business stands to gain if you manage to network appropriately with these influential players include:

  • Competitors: Building a healthy working relationship with your competitors provides you key insights that will help you compete in the most hostile market environments. You might even end up merging companies with a competing business to gain a mutually beneficial strategic advantage.
  • Clients/Consumers: Knowing and understanding your customer base will enhance the delivery of your services. In other words, you’ll be able to provide goods and services that your clientele want in the manner in which they most prefer, thanks to the insight provided by your relationship with them.
  • Suppliers and Distributors: Communication and maintaining a favourable working relationship with these two essential parties ensures that deliveries are made on time and that you get the best price on shipments, thus cutting costs and maximising profits.
  • Government and regulatory bodies: Having inside information concerning future government policies that might affect your business allows you to be positively proactive rather than negatively reactive.
  • Other stakeholders: This can describe everyone else your business directly or indirectly affects.

As a business owner, you need to operate in a manner in which not just you and your business benefits, but also other members of your environment. For example, if you run a bar or restaurant, complaints from your neighbours concerning noise or garbage disposal should be listened to rather than ignored. Disregarding their grievances at first might appear convenient, but in the long run their complaints may lead to unfavourable repercussions to your business, such as government sanctions.

A good and reliable team

I repeat, ‘No man or business can operate as an island’. Even when running your small business as a sole proprietor, you’ll still need to rely on a team of people to deliver what you need to make your business work.

If you have employees, you’ll need to have a reliable team of staff. If you’re running your business solo with no employees or even an assistant, you’ll still need to have a reliable team of suppliers and distributors to ensure your ability to produce and deliver your finished product or service.

Your business team has to be one that shares the same vision as you do for your business. That is a team that contributes to the growth of your business rather than continually hinders its progress.

Some may advise that your team needs to strictly consist of like-minded people who see things only the way you do. While this is good and true, a bit of diversity never hurts. If every member of your team works and thinks exactly like you do, it might hinder creativity. This is why an individual who sees things a little differently, a ‘black sheep’, might be needed to offer possible alternatives to tackling a situation, and to shed light on where you may be wrong.

To summarise, a team that works as a cohesive unit to ensure the progress of your business is essential to your success.

An active online presence

Steve Wilson, online expert at, says, ‘At this stage of the 21st century, an online presence is essential. Most consumers google a business before they decide to transact with them, even checking products out online while they look at them online.. If your firm has no online presence, such as a website or even a social media page, it doesn’t inspire a lot of trust in the potential customer, who’ll probably prefer to try their luck with a business that has a good presence online.’

Consumers require information about a product or business before choosing to transact. Unlike the past, where information came via word of mouth from other customers or adverts, consumers now get the information they need via a business’ website, reviews concerning the firm and its services on the site, and what others are saying about the business across social media. If consumers can’t find any relevant or promising information about a business on the internet, they are wont to assume the company is a sham. It also helps if your business has a strong brand name.

So instead of making the mistake of remaining on the shortening list of businesses without an internet presence, you can talk to a reliable web hosting company. Then, ensure your website is well-designed, and begin an active social media account for your business.

Please note that a poorly designed website can be just as detrimental to your business as having no website at all. Due to this, contact a reliable web design company with services comparable to designers such as Infintech Designs or BestWebSoft for the optimal results for your business.

Long and short-term goals

Your business will need both short-term objectives and long-term goals that will help strategise and map out your brand’s path to success.

Having and fulfilling short-term goals will help lay the groundwork for your business’ endgame.

For example, if your business’ long-term goal is to develop a phone that will outsell the iPhone in your locality, you can begin by developing short-term objectives such as discovering shortcomings in the iPhone, creating a better mobile device, securing a patent for your innovation, getting investors to finance mass production, and convincing your target market that your product is better.

All these short-term objectives work together towards fulfilling the long-term goal and ensures your business doesn’t deviate from its ultimate goal. A bit of flexibility might be required while strategising goals because as times change, a business’ goal might need to adapt.

These four simple ingredients play fundamental roles in making or breaking your business. So does your business have these essential elements in place, or do you have improvements to make?

Further reading on surviving in a competitive market

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

Related Topics


Leave a comment