Reasons why your competition is beating you
This one is a no-brainer.
If a company creates a product that is better quality than their competition, they'll usually sell more. It doesn't matter if the lower quality product is cheaper, when a product is made better and lasts longer; people are usually willing to pay a higher price. Your competitor might be making their products in a way that creates a better loyal customer base.
This can be applied to service, too.
You must offer high quality service. Customers will seek out another company for their needs if your service is sub-par. This service can be your customer service or a service you offer such as website design.
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Consumers tend to buy anything that a celebrity has endorsed. It doesn't even matter how good something is, if a celebrity says they like it - people will buy it.
Getting a celebrity to endorse your product can be very expensive. Unless the celebrity actually likes your product and offers to endorse it or mentions that they use it without you asking for advertising, you're likely to be left with a huge bill.
Alternatively, a well-respected organization backing a product or service will help sales. If your competition has such a backing then you may need to seek your own organization to affiliate with.
Another selling point of companies that intrigues consumers is when items are locally made.
People enjoy buying from people they know or from sources close to them. This can be driven by their devotion to the green lifestyle or just because they like things that are made where they live. If your products are being made in China and your competition is made in America, chances are customers are going to prefer the competition.
Locally made sometimes goes hand in hand with greener items. If your competition is using a green angle, then you may be being beaten out by that. The trend in sustainable materials has become mainstream; disposable items are not all the rage.
Believe it or not, if you have a bad website and your competition has a great, easy to navigate site, then that might be your downfall.
Social networking has been integrated into most websites so that consumers can share or tweet about the products that they are enjoying. If you are behind on this, it's probably the biggest reason your online sales are being outmatched by your competition.
No matter the reason, you can always come back from a trouncing. It happens with big name brands all the time, even those that sometimes have their online reputation management called into question.
With some advice and work, you can outdo your competition.
As a business owner, what are you doing to be your competition?
About the author
Tina Samuels writes on social media, marketing, and other small business topics.
How innovation is transforming government
According to Washington Technology’s Top 100 list, Leidos is the largest IT provider to the government. But as Lieutenant General William J. Bender explains, “that barely scratches the surface” of the company’s portfolio and drive for innovation.
Bender, who spent three and a half decades in the military, including a stint as the U.S. Air Force’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), has seen action in the field and in technology during that time, and it runs in the family. Bender’s son is an F-16 instructor pilot. So it stands to reason Bender Senior intends to ensure a thriving technological base for the U.S. Air Force. “What we’re really doing here is transforming the federal government from the industrial age into the information age and doing it hand-in-hand with industry,” he says.
The significant changes that have taken place in the wider technology world are precisely the capabilities Leidos is trying to pilot the U.S. Air Force through. It boils down to developing cyberspace as a new domain of battle, globally connected and constantly challenged by the threat of cybersecurity attacks.
“We recognize the importance of the U.S. Air Force’s missions,” says Bender, “and making sure they achieve those missions. We sit side-by-side with the air combat command, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance infrastructure across the Air Force. There are multiple large programs where the Air Force is partnering with Leidos to ensure their mission is successfully accomplished 24/7/365. In this company, we’re all in on making sure there’s no drop in capability.”
That partnership relies on a shared understanding of delivering successful national security outcomes, really understanding the mission at hand, and Leidos’ long-standing relationship of over 50 years with the federal government.
To look at where technology is going, Bender thinks it is important to look back at the last 10 to 15 years. “What we’ve seen is a complete shift in how technology gets developed,” he says. “It used to be that the government invested aggressively in research and development, and some of those technologies, once they were launched in a military context, would find their way into the commercial space. That has shifted almost a hundred percent now, where the bulk of the research and development dollars and the development of tech-explicit technologies takes place in the commercial sector.”
“There’s a long-standing desire to adopt commercial technology into defense applications, but it’s had a hard time crossing the ‘valley of death’ [government slang for commercial technologies and partnerships that fail to effectively transition into government missions]. Increasingly we’re able to do that. We need to look at open architectures and open systems for a true plug-and-play capability. Instead of buying it now and trying to guess what it’s going to be used for 12 years from now, it should be evolving iteratively.”