Competition is essential for a healthy business eco-system. It forces improvement and innovation, builds drive and determination and inspires research and customer understanding. At it’s best, it encourages every business owner or furniture manufacturer to be their very best. At worst, it creates a loathsome measuring stick that consistently takes your eyes off the prize.
But, competition varies and can be applied to your business in many ways. Direct competition includes those businesses that offer the same products and services. Indirect competition doesn’t offer the same products or services, but rather a way to meet the same need in a different way. The results of your research on each will drive your markers for self-competition, the passionate pursuit of improving your business.
What You Need to Know About “The Competition”
When you go snooping on the competition like a teenager in the throes of angsty romance, consider brand positioning your key piece of information. The way your competition sells and/or speaks about their business on their website and social media channels offers direct insight to how you can do it differently. After all, your unique position is what helps to create value with a seemingly similar product offering.
Look for language that indicates they’re speaking to a niche market, a target age group, eco-consciousness, families or any other target market. Explore their use of language regarding their products – are they hip and trendy, classic and traditional, contemporary and cutting-edge? What’s their appeal?
These answers combine to help you sell your business in a savvy way that’s not a simple mimic of someone else’s mission or vision. Develop your own clear brand statement to sell your company in an enticing way for added success.
You need to know your competition’s price points, but not for the purpose of going sale-for-sale. After all, perceived value is the driver behind this type of research.
If you find that the competition is selling their Barracuda Sofa in seafoam for $899 and you’re selling yours for $1050, you know that you need to create a perceived value that justifies paying the higher price. Yes, you read that right – we’re not suggesting you lower your price. You simply have to give people a reason to pay more.
Strengths & Weaknesses
As you evaluate the competition, pay careful attention to the things they do well and what could use improvement. Do they have a robust website with thorough product data? Are they missing the boat on social media messaging and offer low-quality content? Their strengths allow you to consider whether you might like to add features, products or services to your lineup. Their weaknesses provide insight where your business can fill a gap that they’re missing.
After you gather as much information as you’re legally able, it’s time to get to work on creating a better business for yourself.
Make Yesterday Your Biggest Competitor
It would be easy to go down the rabbit hole of loathing other people’s success, but that’s not what evaluating the competition is meant for. Mostly because the people you think are your competition aren’t. Your biggest competitor looks back at you in the mirror every morning. It’s the mind that says, “But we’ve always done it this way!” It’s the denial about your position in the market. It’s the complacency that comes with a comfortable living.
Using your research and your financials as fuel, make a new goal for your business. Then, turn your focus inward. Evaluate the talent you have on hand and create a treasure map of small steps and milestones based on your end goal. After all, there are roughly 261 working days in a year. If everyone on your team makes tiny strides towards the finish line, you’ll be surprised how far your business can go!
With your new horizon in sight, it’s time for you and your team to get started on your to-do list.
Attracting new clients
Staying up-to-date on future predictions
Adopting new technologies that streamline business
Finding opportunities to position your business in new and exciting ways
These efforts protect your business from becoming irrelevant as times change.
Of course, to change your perspective from competing with others to competing with yourself doesn’t mean that you don’t want to “win” or “be the best.” It’s simply an acknowledgement that you only have control over yourself and your business. By taking small, everyday wins in successive strides, you’re guaranteeing a better business than if you take your eye off your prize and start obsessing about what someone else is doing.
Want more helpful hints on the business of business? Check out Endless Aisles Could Mean Endless Loss and Busy Isn’t Better.