When you start a business, there are a million things you need to think about. Even if that number seems like an exaggeration, the truth is that there are certainly more things you need to think about than in most other careers.
After all, if you work for someone else, it’s them who will be doing all the worrying and planning, and you’ll just have to do the work you’re given to do. When you’re the boss, you have to take on a number of different responsibilities.
One of those responsibilities is to understand your competitors more. You need to know who they are, what they do, and how they do it, and you need to know how all of that will impact your own business.
Many business owners don’t like this idea. They have plenty of other things to do, and the thought of using some of their time to investigate their rivals doesn’t always sound appealing.
Surely other things would be a priority, and also, there is a certain level of discomfort in doing this; it can be hard to see the competition doing well, especially if you are struggling.
Yet there are actually many reasons why having competition is good for businesses, and checking yours out is important. Read on to find out why having rivals in the business world can help you in a variety of different ways.
More Innovative Thinking
Having competitors pushes you to be creative, which is essential for expanding your business. Let’s say your company is the only one operating in a certain market, in which case you would naturally hold all of the power.
When there is no direct competition, you can focus on providing the highest level of service possible to your clients without worrying about how your business compares to others.
Since your clients have no other choices, they would have to be happy with the service or product you offer. As a result, you won’t feel pressured to think of something new.
As you can see, having competition and not being the only one in a certain sector or area means you have to push yourself to do a lot more. You can’t just be “good enough” for your customers, you have to be the best, no matter how many competitors you do or do not have.
Not only will you be ready to take on rivals when they appear (and they will eventually), but you can also ensure you grow your business.
You might be ready to use SMS more in your business, so you learn about SMS compliance ahead of time, ensuring you can be ready to use it when you need to, leaving your competitors behind.
Or perhaps you’ll be ready with a new line of products and you’ll be able to launch them at just the right time because you’re always working out new and exciting ways to grow your business – thanks to the competition around you.
If no one really knows about or understands the product or service you’re selling, and they can’t see how it could benefit their lives, they’re going to be much more reluctant to buy from you.
Even with a great marketing campaign, the fact that you’re the only one selling this particular thing could even make some people feel suspicious – why isn’t anyone else selling the same thing if it’s so good?
So they might instead not buy and wait to see if the market gets bigger, and that’s if they even know about the product or service at all in the first place.
It stands to reason that when there are more people selling something, that something will be better known. There will be more awareness of it in the general public, and the more people who try it, the better the awareness becomes.
Having a number of competitors in this area could be exactly what you need to actually kickstart your business, even if it might initially seem as though any form of competition would hold you back rather than boost your sales and profits.
A lot of business owners don’t enjoy having rivals and don’t like to think about their competition because they feel this would take away from their market share, and it’s better to not know than to worry about it.
However, as we saw above, the more businesses selling a similar product or service, the more awareness there is, and therefore the market expands; this means the market share expands as well.
Another way to expand your market share even when there is competition is to look for strategic partnerships. This is why it’s important to stay on good terms with your competition – you do want the same thing, after all.
Rather than trying to outdo one another, which is time-consuming, costly, and might even put off your customers, you could try to work together.
This won’t work with every rival, and if their business is too similar to yours, it’s not a good idea. However, with others, there could be a good way to work together because not all businesses in your area are competition.
Perhaps you run a coffee shop, and next door there is a restaurant. You work in a similar field, but you’re not quite the same. Maybe you could run a promotion where if someone buys a coffee from you, they get a free dessert next door.
Or if someone buys dessert, they could get money off a coffee. In this way, people will be keen to use both businesses. Take a look around and don’t assume that people are rivals without checking them out thoroughly because you might actually be able to help one another.
It Could Push You to Specialize
If you and a competing business are very similar in terms of what you sell or do, there may not be room for both of you to keep working in the same way as you’ve always done.
We mentioned innovation above, and if you take the initiative, you can put this to good use by becoming a specialist.
If we stick with the coffee shop idea, there could be numerous ways to specialize in something. Maybe it’s your home-pressed beans. Perhaps it’s the cakes you sell alongside the coffee.
Maybe it’s the art you put on top of a cappuccino. You might specialize in tea parties, or you might choose a specific type of coffee to make your own version of.
By specializing in something, people will become more aware of you. You can still sell other items, but whatever it is you choose to be known for is what you need to focus on and ensure that really is the best.
In this way, even if there are people who do run a similar business to you, you can still stand out with your ideas and concepts, and you can boost your business by ensuring you are innovative and exciting.
You Can Improve Your Products
Even if you don’t want to specialize (and you certainly don’t have to if you don’t think it would help you), competition will still help you refine your product line.
You may have been taught as a child to go against the grain and ignore the opinions of others around you. Well, you’ll need to do the complete opposite to enhance your products.
If you want your product to actually stand out from the crowd, you need to pay close attention to what the competition is doing and work to improve upon your offering.
If a new restaurant down the street is offering higher-quality food and luring away your customers, you’ll need to do the same.
You might also be the first to fill the void in the market if you see that your competitors are struggling because they only sell women’s fashion, and you expand your offerings to include men’s and children’s apparel.
It’s simple to see where you can improve or where you’re already excelling in the marketplace when you compare your product to that of your rivals.
It might be difficult to tell if your product is successful when there is no other option available to customers, and this is not a good place to find yourself in.
To stand out from other business owners, you must always be highly motivated and try to be the best in your field. You become really proactive, aware, creative, and, most of all, focused.
You should stop being satisfied with how things are and always think of better ways to make your customers happy. You don’t want to go down, and you become a really hard-working and smart person, even if it’s just to stand out from the crowd.
You try to build on your strengths and get better at the things you’re not good at. All in all, you become very inspired to reach great heights.
Does this all sound good and exactly what you want? Then you need to pay attention to your competitors. As strange as it might seem, those competitors are your motivation to do well and do more, and that’s an important thing to remember.
Main image by Chevanon Photography