If you have been paying attention, you’re bound to have noticed there is a major event happening in the world right now; the Olympics. It happens once every four years and it’s always the talk of the town when it is broadcast worldwide.

In the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics there are 206 countries and 11,000+ athletes competing. It’s a great time for the worlds’ countries, as we all band together behind our home nation and root for them to win the gold. Pride fill our hearts as we watch our heroes standing at the top of the podium, saluting our flag as our nation’s anthem is played. These athletes have worked hard for the chance to compete on the Olympic stage and have invested all of themselves in this goal — this dream.

These athletes are impressive (can we talk about how Michael Phelps just won his 21st gold medal?!) and will continue to amaze the world throughout the entirety of their lives and beyond. There are always more records and be broken and more medals to win, and we can always count on a hard working and dedicated Olympic athlete to step up to the challenge. These athletes understand that those who rise above are rewarded and that those who don’t give it their all are left in the dust.

As a marketer, you too have invested yourself in a goal or dream. You’ve worked long days and long nights trying to perfect each and every campaign you’ve created. Competition is everywhere and it’s only magnified in the marketing realm. Today’s consumers have so many options that if you aren’t the best you simply won’t be picked as their product or service of choice.

So, is your business competitive? On ”The Marketing Donut” website they suggest 10 ways on how to make your business more competitive:

  1. Know the competition. Find out who your competitors are, what they are offering and what their unique selling point (USP) is. This will identify the areas you need to compete in, as well as giving you a platform for differentiating yourself.
  2. Know your customers. Customer expectations can change dramatically when economic conditions are unstable. Find out what matters to your customers now — is it lower price, more flexible service, the latest products? Revise your sales and marketing strategy accordingly.
  3. Differentiate. It’s essential to give your customers good reasons to come to you rather than a rival. Your USP should tap into what customers want and it should be clear and obvious — no one should have to ask what makes you different.
  4. Step up your marketing. Make more effort to tell people who you are, what you sell and why they should buy from you. It doesn’t have to be expensive; marketing can range from posters in your window and leaflet drops through to advertising campaigns in local media.
  5. Update your image. Simple steps such as painting the front of your premises can make your business look more modern and inviting. But look also at business cards, stationery, your website, branded packaging, clothing and so on. Does your image reflect your USP?
  6. Look after your existing customers. They will be your competitors’ target market. Provide better customer service by being more responsive to their needs and expectations. If feasible, consider offering low-cost extras such as improved credit terms, discounts or loyalty schemes — remember, it’s cheaper and easier to keep customers than to find new ones.
  7. Target new markets. Selling into a greater number of markets can increase your customer base and spread your risk. Consider whether you can sell online or overseas, for example. Are there groups you’ve never targeted before who might be interested in your offer? Don’t waste time marketing to people who won’t be interested, however.
  8. Expand your offer. What related products or services might your customers be interested in? You might even consider diversifying into another area — many cafes have successfully offered Internet access, for example.
  9. Be the best employer. Skilled, motivated staff underpin vibrant, growing businesses. But attracting them means more than paying a competitive wage — people are often more impressed by a good working atmosphere and benefits such as flexible working and structured career development.
  10. Look to the future. Businesses that plan for growth are more successful than those that are happy to stay still. Keep up with developments in your sector, follow consumer trends, invest in new technology and — crucially — have a clear idea of where you want to be in one, three and five years’ time.

There’s long hours to put in to make your dreams come true, but those that push forward and rise above will be rewarded.