Competition in the business world is often viewed as a negative thing, but it doesn’t have to be. Competition can benefit you, your competitor, and especially your customer!
Let’s look at some of the ways in which competitors can help you:
They prevent you from becoming lazy and overly comfortable in your business practices. It’s easy to feel confident and relaxed in your business if you have a unique product that everyone wants. You don’t feel any pressure to better yourself or your product. Everyone wants it, so it must be good as it is, right?
Then one day another company comes along that begins offering similar products that are just a little bit better than yours. Uh-oh! Now you feel the pressure to perform. You don’t want to lose your customers, so you need to continuously improve your product and your level of customer service. You now need to give your customers a stronger reason to keep coming back to you.
Competitors encourage you to be more creative. So, now you’re not the only one selling rainbow-colored widgets anymore. What can you do? Develop more products! Stretch your imagination. Come up with some unique ideas that will either improve upon your existing products or maybe drive you to design new ones. Don’t try to copy what your competitors are doing, do something different and unique. Express your own creativity.
Competitors also help you to think outside the box. Perhaps you have a solid customer base and haven’t had to invest much in promoting your company until now. But the attention is slowly beginning to drift away from you. Now you need to work a little harder at your level of visibility. You can advertise some sales or special promotions, get more involved with your local community, or donate a portion of sales to a worthy cause. Become as visible as you can in your community. Whether you have an online business or a brick and mortar one, you need to remain in your customers’ minds. Put yourself and your company out there whenever you can. Be noticeable; be memorable.
Competition can also force you to charge reasonable prices. This sounds like a bad thing, but really it’s not. Think of yourself as a consumer. Aren’t you always looking for good value for your money? Of course you are. And so are your customers! While it’s great to be earning a lot of money for your products, you also want to be fair to your customers if you want them to come back again. No one likes to feel like they’re being over-charged or ripped off. You may need to explore different suppliers and materials in order to keep your prices in line, but your customers will thank you for it by returning again and again.
Have you ever thought about actually working WITH your competitors? Joint ventures can be extremely profitable for both parties if they’re done right. Perhaps you and your competitor can offer discounts to the other’s customers and do some cross-promotion for each other. Hold a joint “Day of Information” where you can promote your competitor’s seminars and they can promote yours. You both win since this technique has the potential to increase attendance for both of you. Think of some ways in which both of you could work together to benefit yourselves, as well as your customers. Build each other up, rather than trying to tear each other down.
Competition can seem threatening at times, but the truth is, there is room for all of us! So the next time you see one of your competitors, smile, wave and say, “THANKS!”