Competition is a fact of life, and in business it’s no different. The chances of your product or service being unique is remote.
But is competition a positive or negative force on your business?
Having competitors is a great sign that there is a market for your product or service; and you need to have an understanding of what your competitors are doing and how their business mirrors yours, or how it is different. Having an appreciation of how they work is beneficial as you can develop your products or services in ways your competition have not yet done.
Being the innovator in your industry can lead to becoming ‘The Market Leader’ – which sounds great, but it really just means your competitors are copying your idea! Although not necessarily a bad thing, as who wants to the sheep? We all want to be the wolf! And, we should strive to be the wolf, the one driving and innovating within our field. However we shouldn’t become so obsessed with our competition that we forget our customers. If all our attention is on what everyone else is doing we may loose sight of what we should be focusing on – The needs of our customers! This could lead to customers leaving for our competitors!
So, it is healthy to know what is happening in our market, what innovations are happening and which new products have been developed – but don’t obsess over it, keeping sight of your own innovations and customers requirements is imperative.
In some circumstances competition can become a partner; It is not unknown for companies who were competitors to realise that there is benefits to collaboration, such as:
So in answer to the question at the beginning of the blog –
We can conclude that they are a little bit of both; we need them, we can learn from them and ultimately we can grow with them – but don’t become obsessed with them!
At the end of the day our main focus should be on our own business and customers!
And remember to be the Wolf – not the Sheep!