How To Stay Ahead Of Your Competition –All The Time

Do you know exactly what your competitors are up to? Do you know all their pricing? Do you know what they’re planning next?

Every business is in the business of both monitoring what competitors are up to and check-mating them to maintain their own share of business. Unfortunately, most of us don’t do this. Here is a step-by-step plan to stay ahead of your competition.crushcompetition

Whether you like it or not, the first day you’re in business is the first day you’re engaging in a game that never stops… the game of knowing what you’re competitors are up to and out maneuvering them.

Unless your dry cleaner is absolutely unique (doubtful), there’s some other dry cleaner out there who’s doing something close to or exactly like you’re doing. What’s more, this dry cleaner may actually be doing it better! Your job is to find out… and to do what’s necessary to get more than your share of the dry cleaning and laundry market. Reread these words. I’m not talking about sharing… I’m talking about getting more than your share. That is really what the game’s all about… and that’s why you’ve got to make a commitment to outsmarting your competitors. SO YOU CAN WIN MORE!

Step One: Listing Your Competitors

To win in the great game of competition, you’ve go to know whom you’re fighting against. This means researching your competition. Start by drawing up a list with the following information:

*Competitors Name
*Address
*Phone Number

Step Two: Make Sure You Have A Convenient Place To Store The Information You Get

I store most of it on my computer. Open a file and call it, “Competition.” If they have any marketing materials, I gather them and put them in a big clear zip lock bag. It’s important to have all this at your fingertips. When something comes up you can go right to your computer or zip lock bag.

Step Three: Gather The Basic Competitor Intelligence

When your research the other dry cleaners in your town, look for this information:

*on what they’re going now

*just a plant/drop stores/laundromat or delivery too.
*services & products

*market area
*quality

*prices, and

*what they’re going to do.

In short, you want to know as much as you possibly can about their present objectives and future plans.

Lots of this information is frankly easy to get. You can stop by their plant (if you’re well known to your competitors, have one of your employees snoop on them), have a pair of pants and shirt cleaned and gather any information that’s on their counter. If they have a delivery service, you can have a friend sign up in their market and give you all the marketing materials.

To find out about their quality, keep your ears open. Ask around. I know in my town what’s going on quality wise, just by being tuned in.

Step Four: Create A Competitor Comparison Chart

Once you’ve go the information you need, it’s time to put it into a usable format. This means creating a chart. This is the chart that compares the apples to the apples and the oranges to oranges. It’s crucial both for your internal planning and for outfoxing he competitors. Let me tell you something else: it’s also something your competitor’s probably don’t have. In my experience, most dry cleaners keep only the most feeble grasp on what they’re competitors are doing, no matter how it will impact them. This is, of course, a mistake. However, when you get organized like this you reap significant advantages, not least because you’re probably going to be more organized than the people competing against you.

Step Five: Add Yourself To Your Competitor Comparison Chart

Your chart isn’t just about your competitors. It is also about YOU! That’s why, once you feel comfortable that you’ve go the information you need on your dry cleaning competitors, you need to add similar information about yourself. Don’t cheat! You need to approach this task with cool detachment, just like an impartial authority might do, or an intelligent customer.

Step Six: Start Drawing Conclusions

The first place you use your Competitor Comparison Chart and the competitive intelligence about your competitors and your own services and products is in-house. The minute you complete the chart, certain things are going to jump out at you. You may find, for instance, that one or more of your prices or services is not competitively positioned. That means that you’re going to have to add some benefits or lower your pricing. I personally don’t like lowering my pricing. So just adding a little something will easily justify the prices you’re charging and going to be charging when you raise your prices in the future.

Step Seven: Hit ‘Um Hard

One of my delivery competitors (who doesn’t own a plant) changed the cleaners doing his work and I knew the cleaners they were going to. I also knew that this cleaner did a horrible job on shirts. How did I knowhithard this? Because of my chart that I built many years earlier. They broke tons of buttons and the shirts looked horrible. They were of the old thinking that; “I don’t make any profits from the shirts, so I won’t spent much time on them.”

I had one of my drivers follow my competitors van for a few days and write down all the houses he stopped at. I attacked those houses with mailings focusing on the quality of my shirts. Result: I picked up 52 customers within a few months.

I have another competitor that started putting door hangers right over my bag drop advertising as we were putting them out one Friday. I couldn’t believe it! They were blatantly overstepping their bounds and they were so stupid to believe that I wouldn’t find out.

Guess what? I previously felt sorry for this competitor for a long time because they were struggling and I didn’t do anything to hinder their growth. I left them alone. They also had shitty shirt quality. I had their van followed and I picked up 32 customers in my neighborhoods with mailings focused on shirt quality. Don’t mess with me! I will pull out all the stops and go after your customers.

I’m usually not this aggressive, but this inconsiderate competitor started barking up the wrong tree. He won’t do that anymore. Actually, he’s out of business and I picked up a bunch more of his customers as soon as he bit the dust.

Oh. I got one more story about this stuff. I got an unusual phone call from our local billionaire. I know him from doing business with him in the past. What’s funny about the phone call is that his ex-wife was asking me lots of questions the week before. This billionaire left me two messages and I never returned his call. Can you say that you didn’t return a billionaire’s call? My suspicions were right! His two sons started up a dry cleaning delivery service a few months later. Their van was pretty. Their brochures were gorgeous. Their uniforms were second to none. They had a billionaire dad backing them up. Guess what happened?

I blew them out of the water. I plugged them into my Competitor Comparison Chart and attacked them with a vengeance. I wasn’t going to let an arrogant billionaire and his two perfect sons take me down. Let me back up a bit. This billionaire embarrassed me in front of a few people two years prior. I didn’t like him. That’s why this story is sooooo good!

Take what you’d like to use out of this and blow your competitors out of the water!

 

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One Response to “How To Stay Ahead Of Your Competition –All The Time”

  1. John Nai Says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience in this business with us who read them.
    I am sure you feel good about doing it and I am sure many like me has learnt a lot from your knowledge. I am very thankful for your dedication for this business. Greatly appreciate it. John


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