Mark Sanborn, leadership speaker and best-selling author noted: “If you aren’t a little different than your competition, you’re in trouble.” Again, we are talking, like we did in the previous blog on differentiating yourself from the competition. However, there are many reasons that the competition is good for you and the service that they provide you is of a great benefit to you.
I can hear you saying: “Wait, how can the competition benefit me when they are trying to beat me?”
Let me just give you seven reasons how:
- Strengths and Weaknesses. You may not be aware of those yourself until they, the competition, point them out. They do this by purposely focusing on your weaknesses; which in turn allows you to work on them. They also avoid your strengths; which again, you work on to make them even stronger.
- Creative thinking. It allows you to find that one differentiation between the competition and yourself. This is done by a group or just by yourself. Regardless, it allows you to explore a way to set yourself apart from them.
- Focus on key customers. Have you ever taken a customer’s book of business for granted? That is what the competition is hoping you do. Make sure that your key customers, stay just that, your key customers. If you lose that focus, then the competition is more than happy to take that account from you.
- Fat and lazy. I have heard this phrase over and over when a company is describing the competition and why they are ripe for the plucking. How about yourself? Are you getting ‘fat and lazy:’ Complacency is your greatest threat. Competition pushes you out of your comfort zone. By leaving that zone, you strive to set new standards for yourself.
- Identify threats. Ever noticed that something new that they had done did not work, but you went ahead and did it yourself? Another question, if it didn’t work for them, what makes you think it would work for you? This was a threat to their business. Why would you want to do it?
- Innovation. Competitors make you constantly innovate. This tends to be ignored, because again, of complacency and the old ‘we have always done it this way before’ mentality.’ Innovation is what takes a business from good to great. If it was not for innovation, we would still be riding in a horse and buggy.
- Personal development. It is those that realize that one of the best ways to stay ahead of the competition is to invest in themselves. By staying current, or ahead of the ways that business is constantly changing, they stay ahead of those that refuse to change to meet consumer demands.
Sam Walton said it best: “To succeed, stay out in front of change.”