You Need Your Competitors To Grow, And They Need You Too

Your competitors are secretly helping your business (Shh! Don’t let them know!)

 

Having a great business idea means that you can expect others to be having the same idea, too.

Imagine bringing an idea to the table during a pitch competition only to be asked, “Why isn’t anyone else doing this?” This isn’t really a good thing. Potential investors might question why your brilliant idea hasn’t been tapped into before. They could wonder if there is truly money or market interest in the space you are working in, and be more reluctant to fund you. And, potential customers might be hesitant to try something new when your offering is the only one of its kind.

Competitors validate for your customers that what you’re offering is something good

…so good, in fact, that many start-ups are jumping at the chance to tap into your market.

Thrive on that idea, and let it stir the fire in your belly.

Competition is good for the soul (and your bottom line)

As with so many aspects of life, competition is a natural part of business. It motivates us like nothing else, and it’s good for soul-stirring success.

Competitors help you up your game. They make you better.

Now, I’m not saying you should be ignorant of who your key competitors are, or not have at least a decent grasp of how they impact your target market. But I do know that if you get caught up always comparing yourself to others and spending your time monitoring your competition’s every move like an overly anxious girlfriend, it’s only going to serve to make you an expert on your competition.

Who do you need to have expert knowledge of? Your customers, of course!

Your success ultimately depends on captivating your audience and motivating them to become customers – and eventually evangelists of your product – who drive even greater revenue for your business. Strive to provide your customers with the best experience, every day, through your sales and support efforts, and continually improving your products so that your customers (both new and returning) always see a unique value in what you have to offer.

There is a saying – “run your own race” – which I remind myself of any time I feel worries or frustrations about my competition getting the best of me. Running your own race means staying fiercely focused on YOUR product, YOUR goals, and YOUR customers. Your competitors may run beside you, but they should not be your primary focus – focus instead on the sweet victory waiting for you when you reach that goal.

When you need to give your competition a second look

However, in order to give the best care to your customers, it sometimes makes sense to pay attention to your competition. While some of your competitors are going for your exact target market with exactly the same product, others may overlap your product or market, but with a different approach.

This group is ripe for making friends and joint venture partners. Yes, you should consider befriending your close competitors, and sharing resources instead of just always working against each other. Why?

Collaboration beats competition and leads to a win-win situation, especially for your customers.

 

There’s room for us all

I had the honor of meeting Suze Orman last year, and she stressed how important it is for women to be happy for the success of other women. She shared this powerful lesson and mantra:

My success doesn’t take away from your success, and your success doesn’t take away from mine. There’s plenty of success to go around, and there’s room for all of us to thrive in our careers!

 

Now it’s your turn:

In the comments below, I’d love to hear how you embrace “healthy competition” to help you improve your business and grow your revenue. Have you collaborated with competitors? If so, how has it worked out for you?

 

Disclaimer: I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit http://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.

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4 thoughts on “You Need Your Competitors To Grow, And They Need You Too

  1. That’s true! Without competitors, you wouldn’t be motivated to do or create something better than will win the interest and trust of more prospects. Besides having your creative skills tested, your commitment to providing the best brand for the benefit of consumers increases too.

  2. I wish more people felt this way and realized the value of working together to build one another up, rather than trying to always smother one another in an attempt to ‘get ahead’. It’s been frustrating for me personally – as I’ve tried to connect with others in the biz. However, those who share a similar vision to mine and with whom I could readily share referrals, are all too busy being cut-throat and competitive. Although I’m aware that I’m smaller than many of the companies which I feel share in my truly unique approach to wedding photography, the more I begin to grow – (even if via their initial referrals) – I begin to share referrals in return – as I become busier and have fewer available booking dates. It’d be grand if they’d realize they’d be feeding themselves as well in the long-run. It’s an incredibly saturated market, but most people are trying to buy into the trends and do what’s going to draw in more potential clients – providing the same exact styles/ approaches – all with varying rates. I and very few others in the market thrive on truly candid documentary – with artistic flair! Finding others who are even comfortable offering this style of meaningful and real coverage, who are also willing to network and share referrals, has proven to be next-to-impossible. Maybe I need to send them this article and ask kindly once again if they’d be interested in collaborating!

  3. Nathalie–
    This article is so timely for me. Just earlier today I saw someone doing exactly what I was doing, but with much more experience under her belt and doing an amazing job. My heart sank. However, as I reflect on this I realize that feeling this way was a gift–it helped me hustle as well as surrender–trust in the intention to be of service and that even if we have similar ideas our voices, experiences and way of carrying the message will be different because we are different people. I agree with you and Suze–we women must love and celebrate each other. There is something so powerful and beautiful about women seeing each other as sister and supporting each other in abundance and blessing.

  4. While it is so true that people sign up for programs to get (steal) ideas but I have to say that I have signed up for courses in my industry specifically so I can do something different. I don’t want to cover that same path again so I look at the gaps and parts that are overlooked in order offer something different and new. The only way to see if I’m doing that is to sign up for other courses that are similar. I think that similar minds getting together and working on a collective progression of thought and progress is worth overlooking the competition, invite interplay of ideas and strategies would be my main focus…. I understand that this is very pollyanna and you have total a hard line on plagiarism, but people in your industry may not be trying to copy but trying to differentiate…

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