Some of the most frequently repeated principles regarding business are concerned with competition. We are constantly being reminded to study, track and outperform our competitors. This advice, however, can lead us astray if it causes you to focus on what others are doing rather than maintaining emphasis on your own efforts.
Be Aware of the Competition
You should not ignore the competition or deny that it exists. That would be silly and counterproductive. It’s helpful to be aware of your competitors and to know what they’re up to. For example, if one of your leading competitors releases a new product in your niche, you will naturally be concerned and want to know everything about it. It’s sensible to keep a watchful eye on your industry and to be familiar with the players. There is no denying that competitors can have an impact on factors such as product features, prices and policies. It’s equally important, however, not to become obsessed with the competition.
When to Forget About the Competition
Essentially, you should take note of what your competitors are doing and then get back to your real job, which is to focus on your own products, services and, most of all, customers. Too many companies forget this and keep the spotlight on other businesses, those they are trying to outshine. This strategy can easily backfire. For example, if your advertising and promotional campaigns are constantly discussing why you are superior to Product X or Company Y, you are inadvertently calling attention to these other products and companies. Even when you are criticizing something, you are causing people to think about it. What you want people to be thinking about is you.
Where to Keep Your Focus
Your primary focus should be on your own business, products and customers. When you try too hard to beat the competition, you are going to be neglecting these crucial issues. Remember, few products are unique in every way. It’s pretty much guaranteed that there will be competitors who offer something similar to you. It’s also true that you are never going to control 100 percent of your market. Fortunately, it’s not necessary for you to beat your competitors into the ground in order to succeed. Your job is to provide the best possible value to your customers so they don’t have a reason to go anywhere else. The best way to do this is to foster an ongoing relationship. Developing that interchange allows you to offer the best possible products and services, clearly convey the benefits you provide and show your customers how much you value them. The more effective you are at catering to your customers, the less bothered you will be by others in your industry. While you want to be aware of your competitors, they should never be your main concern. Differentiate yourself by offering the best possible customer service every day. Create loyal fans and they will be your best salespeople.