How stiff is the competition in your industry? How do you intend to stay ahead of competition in business? What’s the average number of new customers that come to transact business with you daily? Do you know how to attract or find new customers for your small business? Do you need cheap marketing ideas for your small business?

Is your business experiencing difficulties due to a shortage of customers? If I offer you effective small business marketing strategies and ideas that will help you get new customers or clients for FREE; and also help you outperform competition, will you be willing to try them out? If your answer to the last question is yes, then read on.

Finding good customers is one of the challenges of starting a business and one peculiar thing about this challenge is that it never ends. From the day you open up for business; your business will constantly be in need of customers. But unfortunately, most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t know how to promote their businesses and those who are well grounded on the importance of marketing a business are short of marketing ideas.

“You are in a war. You must plan to take the other guy down first and do it. Winning is not the best thing; it’s the only thing. If it were not, no one would keep score. To win the war, you must take charge. You must set the organization’s objectives, establish a chain of control, delegate, appraise performance, adjust and act.” – The Mafia Manager

In a previous article I wrote, I explained that competition is one of the challenges faced by entrepreneurs when building a business from scratch. Business is a war; so also is marketing. A case of dog eat dog; and a game where winner takes all. Just like stated in the quotes above; winning is not the best thing, it’s the only thing. You must plan to take your competitors out before they do the same.

“In business, the competition will bite you if you keep running. If you stand still, they will swallow you.” – Victor Kiam

In this article, I am going to share with you eight effective small business marketing strategies and tactics that will help your business gain undue advantage and ultimately overcome competition. I am not sharing this guerrilla marketing tactics with you just to thrill you; I believe in action and corresponding results. These are not the regular marketing tactics you come across everyday; these guerrilla marketing tactics have been tested and proven.

“If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.” – Jack Welch

I am an entrepreneur and I face stiff competition everyday; from the first day I launched, it’s been war. But I survived and my businesses are thriving and growing at an exponential rate. How did I survive competition? I didn’t survive by rolling dice and praying for luck; I survived competition by being tough and strategic in my marketing approach. It’s this same small business marketing strategies I used that I want to share with you today.

“Luck is not a factor. Hope is not a strategy and failure is not an option.” – Anonymous

“We have always had a pretty competitive ferocious battle with British Airways. It lasted about 14 years and we are very pleased to have survived it.” – Richard Branson

Now what gives me the confidence that these marketing tactics will work on your business? Sincerely, I can’t really guarantee these marketing tactics will work on your business but it was these same business marketing strategies that Richard Branson used to position Virgin Atlantic against British Airways.

It was these same marketing tactics that Jeff Bezos implemented to position Amazon.com to compete favorably with Barnes and Noble. These same marketing tactics helped Facebook stay in the game against Google.

So if this guerilla marketing tactics worked for these successful entrepreneurs when their businesses were in the startup phase, I believe it will work for you. If you are ready to outperform your competitor, then below are eight underground marketing tactics you can implement to stay ahead of competition.

“The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all but goes on making his own business better all the time.” – Henry Ford

8 Effective Small Business Marketing Strategies for Overcoming Competition

  1. Develop a competitive strategy

Your mission to survive or stay ahead of competition begins with strategic planning. You must identify your competitor; spot out the competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, and plan your strategy based on the information gathered. Concentrate all your attacking effort on your competitor’s weaknesses while avoiding and defending against the strengths.

“The best thing to invest in your business is your time. To schedule, plan and use time effectively, know your turf and know your objectives. Assess the obstacles and opportunities, then devise your strategies.” – The Mafia Manager

When developing a competitive strategy, don’t do it alone, do it together with your business team. Your competitive strategy must not only include plans to defeat competition; it must also include plans that will strengthen the business from the inside as well as on the outside.

2. Focus on a niche

“Don’t try to be all things to all people. Concentrate on selling something unique that you know there is a need for, offer competitive pricing and good customer service.” – Lilian Vernon

Most businesses try to be everything to everyone; don’t join them. Find a niche market and serve that niche to the best of your effort. In every industry, there’s an under served, abandoned niche that the big corporations considers too small to be served. It’s up to you to find such niche and focus your entire marketing effort on it. Don’t spread your effort, concentrate and don’t try to be everything to everyone; be something to someone.

“And here is the prime condition of success, the great secret. Concentrate your energy, thoughts and capital exclusively upon the business in which you are engaged in. Having begun in one line, resolve to fight it out on that line; to lead in it. Adopt every improvement, have the best machinery and know the most about it.” – Andrew Carnegie

Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic was able to breakthrough because it focused on business men and students while British Airways strives to serve everyone. Facebook was able to breakthrough because it focused on youths. So if you are going to stay ahead of competition; then get focus.

3. Strive to be unique

What sets your business apart from the competition? What does your business name or product stand for in the heart of your customers? What’s your unique selling proposition?

If you haven’t given these questions a thought, then I think you are making a grave mistake because creating a unique selling proposition begins with you answering these questions. To outsmart your competitors, you need to be unique. You need to find your strength, work on it and broadcast it to the world.

As an illustration, Aliko Dangote set his company apart with speedy delivery and uniform price. Wal-Mart became a brand with its unique pricing strategy; Apple became a brand with innovation and Virgin Atlantic grew because it offered first class service to an ignored niche; “business people and students.” So if your business is going to stay relevant in the marketplace; then you need to be unique.

4. Build a brand for your business

The fourth small business marketing strategies to outsmarting your competition is to build a brand for your business. You may say you don’t have the huge marketing budget of the big corporations but you can build a brand in your own little way.

“If you are not a brand, you are a commodity.” – Robert Kiyosaki

By emphasizing on quality, striving to fulfill your brand promise and working on your overall brand image; you can build a strong brand image for your business. Most of the popular brands in the world today were smaller brands of yesterday. If you consistently invest in building a brand for your business; you’ll stay ahead of competition.

“To succeed in business, you must build a brand and never destroy it. One competitive advantage I had when I ventured into manufacturing was my brand “Dangote,” which I diligently built in the course of my trading commodities.” – Aliko Dangote

5. Focus on the Customer

“A business absolutely devoted to service will have one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.” – Henry Ford

In guerrilla marketing key point number two, I emphasized the need to focus on a niche. Now what’s that niche made up of? A niche is a group of people with a common interest. Most businesses are so obsessed with keeping an eye on the competition that they ignore the main asset of their business which is the customer.

“Business is not just doing deals; business is having great products, doing great engineering and providing tremendous service to customers. Finally, business is a cobweb of human relationship.” – Henry Ross Perot

Now does that mean you should take your eye off competition? My answer is no but do it with moderation. You focus should rather be how to serve the customers more efficiently; your utmost focus should be to give the customer maximum satisfaction.

“What is good for our customers is also in the long run good for us.” – Ingvar Kamprad

6. Connect with customers emotionally

All businesses try to communicate with the customers but not all connect with the customers. Your guerrilla marketing tactic here should be to discover your customer’s soft spot and touch them right on that spot. One question on the mind of all your potential customers is “Wii-FM,” meaning “what is in for me.

“Stop talking about your products and services. Customers don’t care about products and services, they care about themselves.” – David Meerman Scott

The answer to the “Wii-FM” question is the key to successfully connecting with your customers emotionally. Connecting with your customers entails knowing your customer’s need and touching them at the point of that need. If you can successfully do this; you have nothing to fear about competition.

“Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face .You will be amazed at how many companies don’t listen to their customers.” – Henry Ross Perot

7. Strive to achieve quality

The seventh guerrilla marketing to outsmarting competition is to give your customers the best of service. You must insist on quality and make quality a standard in your business. Insistence on quality at an affordable rate can set you apart from competition.

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” – Steve Jobs

Never trade quantity and cheapness over quality because it’s going to back fire. Debbi Fields, Henry Ford and Michael Dell are successful entrepreneurs that carved a niche for themselves because of their insistence on quality. Debbi Fields extraordinary insistence on quality led to the initiation of their company’s motto “Good enough never is.

“Good enough never is. Set your standards so high that even the flaws are considered excellent.” – Debbi Fields

8. Concentrate on innovation

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs

How did Apple become one of the most respected companies in the world? They made it through innovation. Concentrating on innovation was Apple’s overall strategy to stay competitive in the market place.

Apple’s strategy was to stay competitive by providing the customers with constant innovative products that solves basic problems and all Apple’s guerrilla marketing tactics revolved around that strategy. So if constant innovation helped Apple stay in the game; why shouldn’t it do the same for your business?

“Pretty much, Apple and Dell are the only ones in this industry making money. They make it by being Wal-Mart, we make it by innovation.” – Steve Jobs

Being innovative doesn’t mean spending millions of dollars in research and inventions; being innovative simply means being willing to try out new products and techniques to improve the value of your offered services. Being innovative is simply searching outside the box for faster solutions to people’s problems so you can choose to compete with innovation or not, but know that a company driven by innovation will always stay ahead of the pack.