Keeping Ahead of Your Business Rivals
When in business it helps to keep ahead of the game if you wish to keep your customers and increase your turnover. Being aware of your rivals and what they are up to is an important part of your business.
Competing With Other BusinessesBe aware of who your business competitors are in your home town and check out what catering services they offer. If these businesses are in direct competition compare your prices and menus. Do not be silly and undercut the prices of other businesses as you could end up being the loser when you cannot pay your staff or your suppliers. Instead try to be up to date with catering nationally by reading trade publications to see what innovations are on the horizon that you could add to your business.
Try to have a unique selling point (USP) even if it is that your staff are all older and responsible. If someone is booking you to cater for a child’s party or a wedding they may prefer to see mature responsible staff in attendance. Check out your staff uniforms are they a little dated? Perhaps design something yourself and have a dressmaker make them up so that you have a different style to other companies.
Do Not Make Business Enemies!Do not make enemies with other businesses that are in direct competition with you as you do not want to start a turf war. Be pleasant when you meet and keep your research about them as secret as possible.
Do not be seen to gossip and under no circumstances tell potential customers stories about fellow business man as it is you that could easily be the loser when it is found out that you are telling stories.
Advertising in the Right PlaceHow do your competitors advertise? Is it in the local newspaper or in telephone directories? You do not always have to have the biggest or the most colourful advertisement as they do not always pull in extra business. Instead make your presence known and always have it seen in local community magazines and on billboards in post offices and community centres.
Have a card on display in halls that are rented out for parties and wedding and make sure that every party shop, fancy dress shop and card shop has your business card and a few brochures. Offer an incentive to any trader who passes your name to a customer that turns into a booking. A box of chocolates or a book voucher is very acceptable and will ensure that your name is mentioned.
Catering ExhibitionsThere are many exhibitions for the catering trade be they at grand wedding events or smaller ones in hotels and banqueting suites. Visit some of these exhibitions and see how many people attend. Try to make a deal whereby you are the only caterer in your field at the event as this will ensure more attention for you.
If there are several of you then you need to make sure your staff are out there talking to as many people as possible and offering samples for people to stop and try. The longer you have someone by your trade stand the more likely they are to book your services.
Word of MouthWord of mouth is one of the best ways to develop new business and the longer you trade the more booking will come your way by this method. If you have a website or a brochure make sure that you show photographs from previous events and have a few positive words from the people who booked you as recommendations encourage more customers to book.
It may be time for you to think about a website for your business as this is the way to attract the people who browse online when planning an event. Link your website to as many other businesses as possible by asking them when you meet at exhibitions or while preparing at an event.