Face your fears – making competition work for you, not against you
Most small business owners out there fear competition like the plague. That’s an understandable attitude, given that smaller companies don’t have the means and resources to compete with the big guns. In an overcrowded market, it can be difficult enough for startups and modest businesses to stay afloat, let alone stand out from the crowd.
However, fearing the competition can be more detrimental than the competition itself. On the one hand, you can’t avoid or ignore your competition. They’re always going to be there, one step behind or in front of you. Making it as if they don’t exist will isolate you from the realities of your market, and that can lead to a wide variety of negative consequences. On the other, competition is not all that bad. In fact, a bit of healthy competition can serve as a source of growth for your business – that’s why it’s called healthy.
So, fearing that other players in your market might negatively impact your business is not going to be very helpful. Even if you are offering similar products or services and targeting the same customers, there’s plenty of room for everyone to put their ideas into practice. The fact that your company is still up and running despite the competition is a clear sign of that. And you can’t make your competition magically disappear and clear the road for you, you might as well use them to your advantage.
Know who you’re up against
If we were to listen to ancient teachings, the best way to win a battle is to know your enemies. This is a very basic principle that applies perfectly in marketing – you can’t reach the top if you don’t know what you’re up against. The comparison might seem a bit farfetched, especially since the point is not to instil fear of competition.
However, since you’re running in the same race together, it’s important to assess the threats and the opportunities that you may encounter along the way so you can adjust your strategy accordingly. And the best way to do that is by learning who your competitors are and what you can expect from them. Maybe you’re already acquainted with certain brands that offer similar products or services. But it’s worth taking your research further and tracking the leading brands in your industry or niche, so you can gain a better understanding of the market and obtain valuable insights that can help you in the future.
Learn from their success
In the business world, nothing happens randomly. From the outside, it may seem like some business owners have it all figured out, and everything is smooth sailing for them. But there’s a reason why certain companies thrive while others are left behind. You just have to figure out where the differences lie.
Once again, studying your competitors can help you unlock some recipes for success – because there’s obviously more than one way to reach your business goals. Take a look at the biggest names in your industry and try to spot the factors that have differentiated them from the rest. This doesn’t mean you should mimic their actions or steal their ideas. But you can learn some very useful lessons by watching what others have done before you, and you can also try to recreate their success by adapting certain principles and methods to your specific situation.
Learn from their mistakes
It is often said that smart people learn from their mistakes, while wise people learn from the mistakes of others. The same can be said about businesses. You can either go through countless trial and error cycles to pave your path to success – which is something that most companies do, given that making mistakes is an inevitable part of running a business. Or you can take the high road and learn from other companies’ unfortunate experiences.
The advantage of learning from your competitors is obvious. They’ve already tried and failed at doing something, so you don’t have to repeat the same mistakes and go through the same processes yourself. It’s like looking at a roadmap that tells you which paths you should avoid so you can plan a safe itinerary. You can do that by examining your competitors’ track records or interacting with them directly and asking them about the problems they’ve encountered. While some may be reluctant to provide an answer, many companies will have no issue disclosing this type of information.
Know their weakness
All businesses have strengths and weaknesses. Knowing yours will enable you to focus your strategy on the strong suits while working on the areas that require improvement. Knowing your competitors’ flaws will help you capitalise on their shortcomings. When a company has a major weakness, you can use that to your advantage by providing customers with superior products/services that tackle the very issue.
This is where the direct approach doesn’t work. You can’t just go and ask a company representative about their deficiencies and expect them to give an honest answer. Fortunately, it’s not that difficult to spot the cracks in the armour. You just have to look at their customer reviews to find the glitch in the system and then use it to your benefit.
Keep up with the trends
Trends are constantly changing in every industry and niche. Blink twice, and everything around is different. It can be very difficult to stay up to date with all these developments and figure out where your market is headed. You can either search for a crystal ball that can predict the future, or you can resort to competition analysis to help you keep up with the latest trends in your sector. That way, you’ll be able to focus your efforts and resources in the right direction.
There is everything to gain and nothing to lose by paying attention to your competitors. If you’re smart enough to turn the lessons you’ve learned from them into actionable insights, you can give your business the boost it needs to grow and thrive.