If you’re a business owner, you have competition. Believing otherwise means that you’re not aware of who’s competing for your customers. It also means that you could be setting your business up for an ambush.
I know it’s easy to pretend they’re not there; however, you’re doing yourself and your business a massive disservice.
In life, competition is good for you.
Does that sound like something your mother would say? Well, she would be right.
When we compete, we’re more likely to push ourselves to be our best. We feel more motivated, and will actively look for inspiration to help us become better and better versions of ourselves.
And it’s not all about us. It’s about making the world a better place. When people compete to accomplish good things, everyone benefits.
The same concept applies to business. When one tech company develops a cutting-edge programme, its competition works to create a better one. When one laboratory pioneers a cure for a disease, others are driven to cure it in a better, more healthful way. When one school graduates students with high rankings, others will strive to do the same…and more.
Until you become one with the idea of competing for the betterment of yourself, others and the world, you may struggle with how to view your competitors. Until now, they were the enemies, right? They were keeping you from serving your entire target audience…and from being number one in your industry, right?
I want you to dispose of that notion immediately. Start to think of them as the reason you’re experiencing success, and one of the driving factors behind your continual advancement.
I have put together a list of things you can come back to—no matter where you are in your business development—to remind yourself how business competition can be advantageous, and how you can tap into all the benefits of competition.
- Brand Positioning: If you position your brand alongside the competition (i.e. offer exactly the same thing, in exactly the same way), your business will not stand out. It will struggle with awareness, recognition and general visibility. Instead, focus on what is unique about your brand and highlight that in all campaigns and communications. Competition is one of the few things that will ‘force’ your brand to be unique…which will benefit you in countless areas.
- Metred Growth: As you strive to compete, your business will grow. That’s almost a rule. You see, when the competition is in your peripheral vision, you will inherently strive to stay out ahead of them—to find gaps and fill them, to deliver a service in a more convenient or efficient way, to offer more comprehensive customer service—and in the interim, you will attract more loyal customers, who will refer your business to others, who will join in…and grow your brand. I call this ‘metred’ growth because it’s not growth just for the sake of ‘getting bigger.’ It’s managed by competition, not by ego, and is therefore more likely to be supported by common-sense decisions and a slow, but steady, expansion in capital. After all, no one wants to be caught trying to beat out the competition and going down in flames in the process.
- Out-in-Front Development: Brands that copy others will never make their mark. Instead, they will be known as followers with no real competitive edge. When you compete against other businesses that innovate, you will feel compelled to innovate ahead of them. What does this make you? The most innovative innovator…and there’s no better place to be than out in front.
- Customer First: When you have a healthy view of competition, you’re less likely to compete in the all the wrong ways. Engaging in a price war is one example of doing it wrong. An example of doing it right is focussing on the customer, rather than the competitor; that means making decisions that will better your brand by improving the customer experience, rather than taking the competition out at the knees. This keeps your business ethical and beneficial for you, your customers and your industry.
Is the way you view competition starting to change? Does it bring less of a cringe, and more of a smile to your face? I certainly hope so, because competition has the power to be one of the things that make your business, and your brand, great. Use it to better yourself. Use it to better serve your customers. And use it to make the world a better place for everyone.