By Ajayi Joel
For every skill that you have or business that you venture into, chances are there are about seven people already in such. Now, the big question is: how do you scale or succeed in spite of these? I have discovered overtime that some people just delve into businesses without having a sense of the fact that you have a competitor or a plethora of competitors. This article will give you deep insight into how you can play a game of chess with your competitors. And if you are very familiar with the game of chess, this is a step by step approach of how you can take the queen of your competitors and win the game. Yes, you have a new seasoning business and want to take up Maggi seasoning and gain market share. This is what to do:
Carefully Define Your Niche
The inability to have a niche for your business or skill will make you stuck in the sea of options, and this definitely will make you do so many things that might not directly or even indirectly affect your business or skill positively. If you are a writer – are you a poet, story writer or business writer? It’s not wrong to focus on so many niches at the same time if only you can manage them; however, it is advisable to begin with a niche.
Let’s also take an example of a fish seller: do you sell cat fishes or all type of fishes? Or if you are a hairstylist, do you make for women or just everyone? And if you make for women, what class of women – the rich or the poor?
Travel Down to Your Niche
First thing first, it is advisable to begin with the smallest niche possible which will be the most profitable to you. The game of chess is one game that you don’t play anyhow without having full thinking and consideration. If your target market happens to be high-class women to make awesome hair styles for them, ask yourself if it is possible and easy to reach these set of people easily based on what you have? You need to consider you access and network to reach these target markets. You need to break it down to have your niche.
Consider trying to clone Facebook. That will be a definitely dumb move! Why not break down the niche to a social media for aged people? And if you discover that the niche is still hard to break into, you can break it further down to building a social media for the aged people who are within a certain age range or within a certain set of character. That makes it easy to travel down to.
Study Your Competitors
At this stage, you really do not have so much stress because your competitors will not be as much as those when you do not have a targeted niche. A friend of mine reached out to me last year that she wanted to start a business and that she already had a targeted location in which she was moving to. She needed me to help her strategize how she can scale and if you are reading this, I help both businesses and start-ups strategize on how to penetrate markets, gain mastery and scale. I simply asked some basic questions down to the question of “who are your competitors?”
Now pay attention, this friend wants to make bags and sell and wasn’t aware of the competitors in the target location. What if everyone in that city bought from just one person? What if they have been purchasing from that person for five years? I gave someone a business strategy last year who wanted to start a hair salon in a street. What if there are two major hair salons in that street and the both of them have been in the street for over 7 years? You definitely will not just open expecting that the customers will begin to flock towards your salon. It doesn’t just happen that way. By the way, studying your competitors isn’t terribly hard. Besides sources from the web, you can achieve this research by making inquiries from people around.
You want to win this chess game. Either you want to force yourself into the market space or kick out your competitor, whichever will help you scale. Remember it applies to skills as well; it’s not just restricted to business. What price does the other hair stylist charge and what is your price? This is a game of chess and every move counts. What if you go to meet the chairman of the street and offer to get his daughters hair plaited for free? Then you make a very nice hair. Trust me, once the wife is impressed, she begins to broadcast that you are the one who plaited the hair.
Perhaps you could give a one week free hair styling for young girls on the same street. If the parents agree to send their daughters there and you make like 15 girls hair for free, then tell them to tell their moms to patronize you. Through that, you could strike a win in the street without having to combat with your competitors.
Knight Takes Queen
This is about blocking all the channels through which your competitors are getting access to the target customers. I told my friend that if she realizes that her competitor has gained mastery of Instagram and your target customers are on Instagram following your competitor, it’s either she relies on the power of collaboration or spends extra money to “steal” those customers. What do I mean? I must first say that it is not as easy as it is but it’s very possible. You can decide to offer better values than your competitor and direct ads at the same target audience. There are high chances that if they spot your higher value, they might deviate towards you.
Luckily enough, if you are the first entering into the market, there are a couple of things you can do to have an edge. However, you must first understand the channels through which your customers come to you and then defend to protect your flanks.
This is how to play the game of chess with competitors and if you are strategic enough, you can keep conquering niches as you progress. And you can use this model to introduce a new food seasoning competitor to Maggi in Nigeria. Of course, it can work for any other business venture.
That seasoning may focus on a niche – maybe seasoning that is wholly organic. You must have a clear niche in the market. Then you also have to examine how to introduce this seasoning to market. Is there an opportunity to create something that looks like Blue Apron and then put your seasoning as the exclusive one for people to use? My point is this: irrespective of the product, these principles are the game plans.