Businesses compete for customers. Ultimately, the success of a business depends on its ability to attract and keep customers.

Asking how your business will compete is one of the simplest, yet most important, questions you can ask. It's one of the questions you need to answer when writing your business plan; both in the start-up phase and once your business is established and growing.

So, what does staying competitive mean? The answer to that depends as much on your business as your competition's. It can pay to know your rivals well. Knowing your business, market and rivals, lets you know what you're doing right and what you can improve upon. Being honest with yourself is important.

From there, it's a matter of taking opportunities where they present themselves. You might look at different ways of running your business, or you might look at ways of adding new value:

All of these possibilities represent an investment of time and resources, but it might be just what's needed to stay competitive. Such an investment means a need to plan ahead, to anticipate future competition and prepare for it.  However, planning ahead is also part of growing your business. In the end staying competitive means running your business as well as you can.

Visit our page on business planning success for more information about planning the future of your business.