One thing is consistent across all businesses: competition. We all have them right?
Monopolies are technically illegal – but even if we are the only choice, competition comes in many forms. A local cinema chain may be the only one in a 10 mile radius, but they still have competition – they are competing with all the other leisure choices we have – not to mention things like Netflix!
Here’s a troubling trend we see though… advice around how to use our competition to our own advantage is rarely positive.
A quick Google will throw up advice for dealing with your competition such as: look for complaints on social and jump in, spy on them to keep ahead of the game, send bad customers you don’t want their way, use their weaknesses as your selling points, let them make the costly mistakes so you don’t have to.
Call us soft and fluffy, but to us, we wouldn’t say that is positive or nice advice, and with those attitudes you’ll be concentrating so much on what your competition do, that you risk taking your eye of the ball with regards to what you should be doing to reach your own business goals.
On the flip side, ignoring your competition can be just as bad. There’s a lot of advice around: never ever link to your competition or talk to your competition on social media, don’t look to see what they are doing as you risk losing focus, it is impossible to second guess competition so don’t bother trying.
Again, we can see the arguments here, but we think having this attitude to your competition is detrimental in the long game
Finally, there’s that other way to handle competition, which is just to blatantly put them down.
“Don’t go to X, they are no good, I’m better because of X, Y and Z.” Businesses that do this will never generate the trust and respect needed to succeed long term, as they are building their brand on the negatives of others – rather than their own positives.
So how should we treat our competition?
1. Ignoring them
2. Being scared of them
3. Trying to put them down
opt for Option 4…
4. Embrace them
What do we mean by that?
Instead of being defensive or offensive with your competition, try working with them, collaborating with them, or simply get to know them!!
“What Andrew and Pete, are you CRAZY!?”
No, we’re not crazy, embracing your competition works, in fact nowadays, some of our closest contacts, best referrers and best givers of advice could be classed as ‘competition’.
Here’s 5 reasons embracing the competition WORKS:
- Not everybody is for everybody – It is good to be able to pass on business that you aren’t going to enjoy, or you think will be better suited to someone else. If you build up this relationship with your ‘competition’ by giving first, then it’s highly likely the favour will be returned. Don’t give ‘bad’ referrals, give referrals that are suited to others rather than yourself.
- They are in the same boat as you – You know who will understand your business and your problems more than anybody? Your competition. So imagine if you actually talked to them about their wins, their failures and what they have learned, and in return you did the same. How much would you both get from that?
- They may be further on than you – In our industry, we learn from people who have paved the way, and have found they are more than willing to share how they have got there. Find successful people (who could be classed as ‘competition’), and learn from them, tweaking what they have done in your own unique way.
- Collaboration for bigger clients – Can you join together your skills set and target larger clients with a more valuable offering?
- Collaboration of audiences – Can you be guests on each others blogs/podcasts/webinars etc? This way you both benefit from share and promoting each other and you also get to give more value to your clients/audience. Even on a smaller scale – by simply sharing their content (if you think it is good, and will be of value to your audience), people will feel obliged to be nice also, and share your content in return.
Top Tip: If you have been following us for a while you will know how important we think being unique is, and so when it comes competition – don’t be afraid of them stealing your clients, because on the contrary, if your brand is strong and unique enough no one can ever steal your customers.
ACTION: Let’s start a revolution of embracing competition in a positive way. Now, drop your competition an email and arrange a coffee or Skype to discuss collaboration.