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Dealing with Competition

The running footsteps thundering alongside you, the blood pounding in you rears and through your veins, the racing of your heart – these are the signs of competition, hot on your heels. The market is crowded and everyone is looking for a larger slice of the pie. Welcome the challenges posed by competition and exploit them to sharpen your business dynamics and progression.

Be Exceptional

The line of business may be the same but you have to bring a unique passion to your enterprise. Philosophically speaking, ‘God made all men equal but to beat the competition you have to make yourself unequalled’.

Avoid imitating your competition just because they have a successful business model. Discover a differentiator and use that as the engine for your growth. You will soon leave the competition panting way behind you.

Deepening Markets

Start-ups who wish that they are the only players in the market are legion. If that were to be true it would raise the distinct possibility that the market is too small or too local. The obvious downside is that the prospects of scaling up are restricted and future growth is stifled. Increased competition has the advantage of deepening the market and discovering new pockets of business. Welcome new players in the market. Believe that there is adequate business for everyone and one more person.

Play by the Rules

The temptation to cut corners to generate sales can be overwhelming but entrepreneurs should not fall prey to such an approach. Your competitor may hijack your customer but don’t copy-cat that behavior. The fruits of such victories are usually temporary. If you have given your customer the best possible deal, he’ll soon retrace his steps. In the interim, introspect on what could have been done to retain the customer. Impeccable and matchless customer service is usually guaranteed to keep your customers within your fold.

Beware of Nemesis

Watch the sales graph and keep your ears open for talk of competition, especially smaller operations which have the innate ability to fly below the radar until they suddenly appear as a threat. The smaller guys are fleet footed and prepared to take bigger risks with one objective – to relegate you to second position. If the competition is doing something better than you, go back to the drawing board, step back and review your product and reinvigorate your marketing. You may be the best today but don’t let an over-confident approach turn you into a has-been. Ignore the competition at your peril.

Communicate with Customers

Keep in touch with your customers not just for their post-sales feedback but to build long term relationships. It is far easier and substantially cheaper to retain an existing customer than to discover a new customer. Technology has made communication quick and inexpensive. The simple theorem is that if you are talking to your customer, your customer will not be talking to your competitors.

Be aware of the competition and enjoy being in the thick of it. A dose of competition can have the benefit of sharpening your processes and accelerating innovation to keep you that one stride ahead of the chasing pack.