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Unless your business idea is so revolutionary that literally no one has done it before, you’re going to face competition. And that’s a good thing! Competition encourages us to constantly improve and do what it takes to be the best.

Follow these tips to embrace small business competition and rise to the top.

Do Your Research

This should be step one once you’ve solidified your business idea: scope out the terrain. If you want to open a paint store in a town that already has ten paint stores, you’ll struggle to find your footing. So before you set up shop, explore the competitive landscape and be strategic about where you choose to operate. If possible, speak to existing business owners or managers about struggles they’ve faced and what business is like in that area.

Think About How to Stand Out

In order to set your business apart, think about what your target industry needs that your competitors aren’t doing. This doesn’t have to be anything drastic–just small touches or changes to the base product that will make your customers’ experience pleasanter or more efficient. To get ideas for what to improve, listen to your customers. What kinds of changes would they like to see? Consider sending out surveys to gather this data.

Be People-Oriented

One area where small businesses shine is in personal connection. Customers don’t get that personalized, caring approach when they go to a business so large that they just become another face and number. Do your best to connect with each customer you serve.

Think Collaboratively

When we hear “competition,” most of us think of two people pitted against each other, each trying to get the prize. However, it can be to your benefit to treat your competitors as allies. When you act collaboratively and share notes and ideas, everyone’s business improves.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks

Taking calculated risks is sometimes the only way to propel your business toward success. Maybe there’s an idea you want to try but no one has done it before. Ask your customers what they think, and if feedback is positive, do it. It might be just the thing you need to win the small business competition game and take your business to the next level.

If you’re starting a new business or you’re looking to expand your operations to beat out your competition, contact Alternative Funding Partners for comprehensive and affordable financing options. No matter what your credit history, your current financial situation, or your industry, Alternative Funding Partners is dedicated to helping you make your business dreams a reality.