Squeezed Businesses – You and the Competition in the Cost of Living Crisis

Businesses are entering a difficult time. The cost of living crisis, formed from multiple different pressures on the global economy, from the lingering effects of Covid to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, promises a difficult winter for businesses in all sectors.

Not only is it getting more expensive for you to keep the lights and heating on (and perhaps more importantly your computers and servers), your suppliers are experiencing the same pressures, so can expect their costs to be going up – and your customers are feeling the squeeze as well, so they’re making much more careful decisions with their remaining discretionary spending.

This means rising bills from every angle, and the risk of a drop in revenue. And of course, a heat up in competition from other businesses in your market, and it’s that we’re looking at today.

Who to Worry About?

There are lots of competitors in any market, but some of them aren’t very relevant to your business. They might be a long way away, targeting a very different segment of the market or otherwise not actually threatening your market share. The most important thing to do is work out who you do need to worry out.

Competitor benchmarking is the key to this process. Consultants can rate your business alongside your rivals for certain key indicators, and show how you’re performing relative to the businesses you really need to worry about. This allows you to fine tune your strategy to mitigate their strengths and take advantage of their weaknesses.

What Do Customers Think?

The other key factor is the market itself – the customers you’re competing for. You need to know what they think of your business and just as important, what they think of your rivals. With market research consultants on the case, you can make sure the brand you’ve cultivated is fit for the times we’re heading into, and if it’s not, undertake work to remedy that before the worst of the crisis hits. As we went into the last financial crisis, Waitrose boosted its Essentials range, to temper the expensive side of its image by communicating the value it offers customers.

Knowing what your customers think allows you to lean into your unique strengths in your marketing and stand out in a marketplace where the competition heats up. A programme of market research can also identify audiences where your ads aren’t penetrating, where an increased spend or a slight rewrite could net you a highly rewarding breakthrough.

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