Recently I met a business owner who was in a pretty negative space with regards to her business. After a brief discussion to understand her situation, I discovered that the biggest issue she had was that her competitors were “getting a bigger piece of the pie”.
She was incredibly negative about this, so much so that this mindset had filtered into all areas of her business. She told me that she had stopped with her new customer acquisition marketing strategy, because “my competitors have probably already made contact with those prospects, so it’s pointless if I do”. Really?! Whilst listening to her speak I thought, “I wonder if Oprah Winfrey ever thought that way when facing adversity?”
This businesswoman, had literally given up without even trying. On the way home I reflected on our conversation and came up with my take on her whole issue. Flipping it right on its head! Your competitors can be a huge influence on your business success, you just need to know how and of course why.
1) Without competitors we become complacent
Just imagine if there was no competition in the world? It would probably be fun, for about a week, but then we would literally start sliding into a state of complete boredom and complacency, which is a dangerous place to be in business and in life in general. By understanding our competitors’ strengths and weaknesses we become creative thinkers and start finding opportunities to develop new and innovative products and services for our customers. We spend time improving our current offerings so we can be the best we can be. Our competitors challenge us to keep agile and on our toes. Without our competitors we stop developing ourselves and our businesses, we stop working towards goals.
2) Without competitors we don’t get a chance to shine
Think about your business and who your immediate competitors are. How similar or different are you? You may be offering similar products or services, but I can tell you that there are many unique traits about you and your business that will shine through. Define those traits and let them shine!
Without competitors we stand a chance of becoming a boring face in the crowd. By understanding the necessity to stand out, we challenge the status quo.
3) Without competitors we don’t get to understand our customers
Without competitors we stop thinking outside the box. We stop trying to find out what our customer really want and only think about what we can comfortably offer them. We become self-absorbed and lazy, where we actually should be customer-centric. We fail to clearly define our customers needs. This complacent mindset leads to missed opportunities, no business or personal growth.
Owning and operating your own business is not easy, it will never be easy, but if you are aware of this and happy to take the good with the bad then owning your own business can be exceptionally gratifying.
Owning a business with the understanding that there are bigger, more successful and well-known competitors out there can be daunting, but competition will always be there, whether you like it or not. Learn to embrace them. Learn to work with them, not against them. Learn from your competitors’ mistakes and wins and remember they will never ever be you!
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