I’ve seen many small business owners go almost crazy stalking their competitors, thinking of them as the enemy. This should not be the case. They are the reason you’ve created an innovative solution more attractive than theirs. It keeps costs competitive and ensures your customers get great customer service.
You should of course keep an eye on your main competition. You need to keep abreast of new product or service lines and the cost they are charging. But there is no need to spend all your life staring at them. This will have a profoundly negative effect on you and your business I can assure you. Be aware that you’ll only see their good bits (assuming you don’t have insider knowledge); you’ll only see them from the outside, from a marketing point of view – only what they want you to see. Therefore you’ll only see the good bits.
This can lead one to believe they have no bad bits; or they are not facing the challenges you are, which is what makes some crazy!
If you want to. If you’re creating a business plan for a bank loan. Otherwise don’t bother, it’s a waste of time. You’ll know who your main competitors are, what they are charging and what they offer.
I’ve read before that the only real competition a business has is from within itself (sounds profound doesn’t it!). But before we turn into hippie’s, think of this. You’ve created your business/your idea to be something that is not already there, to fulfill a need that no one else has or provide a product or service that hands down, categorically, customers will not get elsewhere.
That means, you’re the first. And you can bet your bottom dollar (or £), that others will follow (copy you). This means you’re doing the right thing. But, because you’re the first, by the time your top competitor has put in process what you’re offering, your business has changed. It’s innovated, adapted and become a better version of itself. It’s worked out how to provide its product or service, faster, cheaper or smarter than it did before.
So the competition will never catch up, as long as you continue to push forward.
Consider your competitors and keep an eye on them. But remember, the only real competition comes from within yourself.
Don’t forget, look out for our next blog in the series: Start up Costs, which is here.
If you missed our previous blog in the series, Who will you sell to and how, take a look here.