By Alison Stanton

As a business owner, you are well aware that it can be a dog-eat-dog world at times. To stay ahead of the competition, you must never be content to rest on your laurels, but rather always look for ways that you can do things bigger, better and/or smarter. To help come out on top as often as possible and succeed in this cutthroat business world, consider the following tips:

Get to Know Your Competition

The only way to get and stay ahead of the competition is to know who you are racing. Take an honest look at other companies’ websites, products, services, social media pages and review sites to see what they are doing especially well — and maybe better than you, at least for now. Pay special attention to customer reviews and what they really like about the competition, and then see how you can offer something similar or better. In addition, be on the lookout for things the competition is not doing that well, and find ways to capitalize on it. For example, if your biggest competitor offers slow and costly shipping options, do whatever you can to provide super quick and free shipping.

Use Technology to Help, Not Hinder, Your Cause

If it’s been some time since you have updated the technology in your company, it may be time to invest in newer and faster computers and/or phones that can help you and your team complete tasks more quickly and stay in better touch with customers. A great example of this is your smartphone service. T-Mobile features an LTE comparison map that clearly shows the current coverage and growth as compared to other providers. For example, as the Sprint coverage map shows, it offers decent service in the Midwest, but virtually nothing in Wyoming, North Dakota and Montana. Switching to a cell phone company with better coverage will allow you to communicate more effectively with more clients, which in turn can keep you ahead of the competition.

Offer an Amazing Workplace

If you offer your employees a fun, supportive and drama-free place to work, they will thank you with high-quality work. Get to know each of your employees not just by the roles that they play in your company, but also on a personal level. Ask about their kids and hobbies and show a keen interest in what they tell you. Lead by example by working as hard as you expect your team to, and thank them profusely when a goal is met or a project is completed. Surprise everyone with a catered lunch from time to time or gift cards to local coffee shops and restaurants. All of this will add up to your employees feeling like they are part of a happy company family and being motivated to do their best.

Update Your Logo, Office and Catch Phrase

These may seem like superficial tips but let’s face it, your customers are really good at assessing the products that you offer based on something as seemingly simple as the way your company showroom looks. If you are still using the same tired logo as you were 10 years ago, have a contest at work to come up with a new one and then spread the word about it on social media. Bring in some new furniture and revamp the sales floor so when customers come in for the first time they are wowed with what they see.

Even Little Changes Can Add Up to Something Big

Fortunately, getting ahead in the intense business world does not require massive shifts in your status quo; unless you really want to, you don’t have to change your entire inventory or make huge sweeping changes. Thanks to a combination of seemingly small changes and updates, you can and will come out ahead of your competition.

Alison Stanton has been a freelance writer for the past 18 years. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Alison thoroughly enjoys writing about a wide variety of people and topics. When she is not writing, Alison can be found hanging out with her family—which includes three wonderful rescue dogs—and sipping a caffeinated beverage from Starbucks.