How competitive intelligence grows your business

Every niche has competitors. You likely won’t be the sole provider of a service or product in any industry. Competitor analysis and competitive research are an integral part of growing your business. Learning what other brands are up to and what strategies they’re using helps you plan and strategize better. It also gives you a good idea of what works and what doesn’t for your own customers.

The advent of the internet and social media has made competitor analysis more straightforward and comprehensive. Business owners can now conveniently identify their competitors and learn more about their engagement, strategies, and tactics. If you properly conduct competitive analysis, you’ll end up with plenty of quantitative and qualitative data to get a sense of the competitive landscape. Incorporating these insights into your strategies will help you get the best results.

There’s a lot of hype surrounding the benefits of a competitive analysis, but is it really all that? We think so. And after learning more about how it can help your brand in this article, we hope that you will, too.

What is a competitive analysis?

Competitive analysis is the process of identifying your major business competitors and conducting research to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. This analysis usually involves researching their products, services, sales, and marketing strategies. You can use this information to build better business strategies for your own business—and outperform your competitors.

Why is it important to research competitors?

Conducting a competitive analysis will give you a better understanding of how your competitors are strategizing. When you understand how their businesses work, you can identify opportunities to outperform them. A competitive analysis also helps you gather valuable insights about your industry, so you can ensure your business is meeting industry standards.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of conducting a competitive analysis.

Increase market share

Competitor analysis helps you keep up with industry trends, which is vital for staying ahead of the curve. It also gives insight into the saturation of competitors in different segments of your target market.

This analysis can help you uncover market segments where your competitors are falling short and where you can step in to serve the target audience better. You can also use this analysis to identify the target audience’s pain points, so you can plan and improve your products accordingly.

Ultimately, a competitive analysis allows you to identify opportunities to increase your market share.

Convert more customers

Competitive analysis can help you identify new customers you can attract by providing better services or incentives. You can learn what the audience in your niche expects from businesses like yours and look for opportunities to convert them to your brand. Using a competitor analysis, you can find out where your competitor’s products haven’t performed well and avoid making the same mistakes yourself.

With this information in mind, you can work on developing improved products and services that will attract and convert customers. Knowing your competitors’ weaknesses will give you a competitive advantage that you can use to expand your customer base. – Read more

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Accounting Mistakes in Startups That You Need to Avoid

Accounting Mistakes in Startups That You Need to Avoid

A firm grasp on account management of your new business significantly impacts its growth and success. Failing to understand the dos and don’ts of business accounting can hamper profits and incur high costs. Accounting Mistakes in Startups.

According to a report, only one-third of American small businesses employ an expert bookkeeper. The same report revealed that almost 66% of the business owners have no plans to hire one in the near future.

A vast majority of new business owners prefer to handle their accounts themselves, which is completely fine as long as they know how to go about it. However, many of them attempt to test and trial methods to see which works best without professional help. This leads to erroneous calculations and ineffective bookkeeping.

Without a sound accounting system, foolproof compliance, and disciplined bookkeeping, driving a small business can be challenging.

Therefore, be aware of these four common startup business accounting mistakes when managing your venture’s books and transactions.

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  1. Failure to Keep Personal and Business Accounts Separate
    A primary mistake many small business owners make is mixing personal and professional accounts. They often blur the line between the two types of finances when their business sets its foot in the market.

For example, you head to a supermarket to buy office supplies on your business’s account. But you suddenly see some grocery items on sale, and you pop some of those in your basket.

Activities like these can lead to a drastic gap between your investments and revenue, making it hard to keep track of your business finances.

According to Clutch, more than a quarter of the small business owners don’t have a separate bank account for their business transactions, and that’s not a good move. Mixing the two finances can cause problems when you apply for a business loan or a credit line since you’re then unable to provide an accurate financial snapshot of your earnings and expenditure.

If you’re also using a personal account to carry out business purchases and payments, head to the bank today and apply for a business account today.

  1. Relying on Cash-Based Accounting
    Although cash-based accounting is a traditional way of handling and managing cashflows, it results in an uneven and erroneous bookkeeping record. You might skip or duplicate a transaction when counting your finances.

Moreover, if you’re dealing with multiple business vendors, you might not be able to keep track of all the receipts and invoices of their record. Cash-based accounting is a short-term and ineffective solution for your business needs. It doesn’t take due diligence and track-recording into account and leads to fluctuations in business inflows and outflows.

While cash-based accounting might seem easy-to-manage and straightforward, consider implementing a system that has the potential to grow. A fully integrated, seamless accounting software like QuickBooks can be your perfect accounting partner! – Read more

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How you can use online tools to better manage cash flow

How you can use online tools to better manage cash flow

Online tools to better manage cash flow.

As UK businesses continue to struggle with a third lockdown, many will be thinking of ways they can maintain business continuity. For those that can, this means selling their products online. 

In the past, many small businesses would have relied on paper receipts or physical invoices. This meant it took longer to get paid, and records didn’t get updated in a timely fashion.

The pandemic has changed things. Those traditional at the core are discovering that digital processes offer far greater scalability and resilience. 

When connected to Xero, an online invoice payment service like GoCardless or Stripe helps businesses get paid up to twice as fast. Here’s how online invoicing can help you:

Get paid anytime, anywhere

Businesses who accept online invoice payments through Xero get paid faster. Adding a ‘Pay now’ button to your online invoices lets your customers pay you instantly, so you can save time chasing payments and reduce your admin burden. You can also give them many different ways to pay your invoices. With Stripe, you can accept credit card, debit card, and Apple Pay payments, and through GoCardless you can automatically collect direct debit payments on the due date.

Get paid on time

Having the right tools to effectively manage your cash flow is always important, but never has been more truly felt than during the past year. Xero Small Business Insights data shows us that small business revenue continues to decline in the UK.

With all of this uncertainty, cash is often tied up in late payments. This can have a huge impact on cash flow, and is the number one reason that small businesses fail.

This means you’re not only spending valuable time chasing invoices, but you’re also dealing with the lack of cash flow in your business.  – Read more

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