Back when I was in school, there was this woman who sold groceries close to the school gate.

Students constantly flooded her store to buy food items, toiletries, stationery and all the needs of student life.

But there was one major problem, she was stuck up and she constantly argued with the students, accusing us of shop lifting or not paying the actual prices.

Fast forward to 3 semesters later, another grocery shop opened up just down the road, they sold all the items we needed, exactly what this woman sold.

Grocery shop A began to lose customers to grocery shop B.

The fact that grocery shop B was a bit far from the school gate didn’t stop us from going there. Stuck-up aunty was really shocked.

And it remained like that until I graduated.

You need to understand that you have only few competitive advantage over your competitors, if you fail at these characteristics, you will be overshadowed by the competition.

Below are 4 competitive advantages you may have over competition

1. Your Character: For a business that deals with walk-in customers, you need to respond to these customers in the best possible way. If your customers have direct access to you, you must treat them well, respond nicely and put on the best smile.

There’s something about dealing directly with the owner of a business that many customers feel when they come to you. Whether good or bad, you must be able to win their hearts and souls

If they deal with your employees, it’s paramount that you train the employees exceptionally well, because customers are the heart and soul of every business, so your employees need to know that, and this brings me to the next point.

2. Your People: Your people are the most important part of your business because they are the ones who deal with customers on a day to day. From picking up the phone to respond to a customer’s inquiry, to helping a customer to their car, your people must be polite at all times.

Your marketers, the people you send out to represent your business, must also be adequately trained. I have gone for many marketing trips in my previous job that, if not for my training, I would have slapped a prospect.

People may sometimes be rude to marketers when they are approached, so you need to train them to be at their best behaviours at all time. This is what will make you better than the competition. Look after your people and the business will look after itself.

3. Your Knowledge/Skills: Your personal knowledge is the bedrock of anything you want to achieve. The knowledge you have and you gain is what distinguishes you from everybody else.

It’s very important that you know what you are doing very well, in-fact, be the best guy for the job in your business.

Learn the rules of business, learn how to make money, get financial intelligence and you will do better than your competitors.

4. Your Systems: Systems and structures are like the generator that keeps the work going when the electricity suddenly goes off.

You must develop systems in all areas of your business. From marketing, to admin, to production and distribution, personnel management etc.

All these systems give you freedom to work in other areas you would not have been able to. And if you do this the right way, you will build a business that will be free of competition.

Bonus: Research your competitors, find out what they are doing well, what is it about them that makes people come back for more. Then do it times 10 in your own business.