If you’ve been considering your competitors as roadblocks, or hindrances, you’ve been overlooking an important springboard to success.
Business owners frequently consider their competition as the enemy. Many focus on “beating the other guy” because that’s how they measure their success – just like in sports, where one side has to beat the other to win. However, by focusing on beating the competition, you will divert yourself from your real objectives: increasing profits, gaining more time and gaining more control. Bottom line, you will succeed at these goals only by improving yourself and your business, regardless of the competition. You can use your competition to further your own prosperity. Let’s look at how this can be done.
Phase 1: Face Your Competition
The first step in prospering because of competition is to identify and analyze the “Real Competition.” It’s frequently not readily apparent. Sure, your business might have new and unique products or services, but when the needs they actually fulfill are defined, you’ll discover that many other types of products and/or services fulfill similar (if not the same) ones.
The second step is to evaluate your competition thoroughly – to know more about them than they or your potential customers do. You gain considerable knowledge and power by doing this, which you will be able to use during the next step.
Phase 2: Embrace Your Competition
The next step is to embrace your competition. That’s right! In fact, you want and need competition. Here are several of the reasons why:
- You need to avoid and/or get relief from bad customer experiences. You quite often spend too much time, money and effort on extremely demanding, very price conscious, “unappeasable” customers, who almost always produce no profits and sometimes create losses. Even worse, they distract you from your best customers, who drift away in silence.
- You might as well let your competitors deal with these problem people and thus probably overlook the better ones –who might seek you out.
- You show strength to customers when you don’t fear competition. Many potential customers will try to threaten you and your business with “The Competition” as a negotiating tactic. Your confident understanding of your competitors and of your desirable customers will allow you to educate them to the real differences. This is how you can position your business favorably.
Phase 3: Position your business to provide a desirable comparison.
Establish your business so that it will be much more desirable to your target customers, when they compare you to your competitors. Use the knowledge gained in the above steps to create a comparative edge in as many ways as possible. Encourage your customers to compare, especially in the areas where you have the favorable edge. This allows them to make a confident decision to buy from your business because you appear to be better for them than your competitors.
There are examples all around you of business owners thriving because of their competition. One couple, for example, started a cleaning business in the face of an overabundance of competitors and greatly prospered, even with higher prices. They succeeded because they were the only business to quickly answer the phone with a live friendly person to immediately tend to customer requests. Their competition actually drove excellent customers to them.
In another case, a development group created an extremely profitable new ski resort by concentrating on providing warm, courteous and ever-increasing benefits to their skiers. The existing ski areas considered themselves the “only game in town” and were more focused on treating their directors as semi-royalty, while they virtually ignored their paying customers. The developers of the new resort feasted on the monopoly the others thought they had.
By using your competition and what you learn from them, you too can prosper because of your competition.