How to Use Competition to Dramatically Re-Think Your Business

November 25, 2016

“It’s just business.”

How many times have you heard this phrase amidst challenging negotiations and the frustrations of building (or maintaining) your company?

As much as we all may want to think of business as something unemotional and distant from our personal feelings and sense of self-worth, the truth is that business is inherently tied to our confidence about success. This is why it can be so profoundly frightening when a new business opens that does exactly what you do. It threatens more than your profit margin. It threatens you.

The upside is that competition in business can do more to help you rather than hurt your long-term success if you’re clever and open-minded.

Don’t be afraid of a challenge. Instead, look at competition as an opportunity to hone your specialty, grow sales and discover what differentiates you from other players in the same market.

Maximize your competitive edge with these three strategies.

1. Develop Your Niche

Does that shiny new business with a similar product offer exactly what you do?

Use competition to better understand the value you bring to consumers. Analyse the other company’s logo, branding, social media marketing, web copy, product costs, press releases, services, mission statement and more. Then do the same for your company.

Learn what differentiates you. See if you need to adjust your approach to stand out.

2. Streamline Your Business Practices

The very fact that your competition is ‘new’ signifies that you have a crucial upper hand. Look at it this way: You have experience in the initially complicated stages of getting up and running that they don’t.

Make the most of this advantage by viewing it as a chance to tie up any loose ends in your business processes. The options are limitless: Find a cheaper wholesaler, improve the quality of your materials, organise your finances to get a better picture of your sales margins and so on and so forth. Most importantly, don’t let fear freeze you.

Change is inevitable in any industry, and the best way to deal with it is to continuously enhance your business practices.

3. Try Something New

Leverage your streamlined business practices and niche offerings into innovation and customer appreciation. Why should current and potential customers choose your service over someone else’s?

Capitalise on the uncertainty that this question brings. Create surveys to improve your understanding of the market. Interact with comments and feedback across all your social media platforms, email or reviews.

Most of all, be active. You might’ve been doing things the same way for a long time because either it works or you’re afraid to mess it all up.

Try something new. The worst that can happen is you revert to your former methods. The best is that you’ll be more attractive to customers.

You are capable of turning a temporary setback into a profitable and fulfilling business opportunity. What threatens your bottom line can also save it. Use competition to re-light your fire and re-think everything from your finances to your Facebook page.

It’s never just business. You owe it to yourself to have faith in your company. A healthy dose of competition can renew that faith and jump-start your confidence.

This article was originally published on Intuit’s blog

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