by Stacey Thompson
Unless you’ve been operating a monopoly (not a lot of those, nowadays), I am certain that your budding little enterprise has butted heads with other companies that aim to offer similar products and services. Even at the moment of your business incorporation, you must have been already made aware that you are not alone in your quest to become number one.
Competition is ubiquitous in this very well-connected world, and whereas before, they would have to be operating in the same general area as you to be considered a threat, the Internet has made it more than possible for businesses (even small ones) all over the world to be fighting for the same market. Cut one down, and several more will sprout out to take the the former’s place. Some big conglomerate might even take an interest in your product or service, and use their vast resources to simply outlast you. Walmart and other big enterprises tend to squash the smaller competition under its gigantic corporate foot, for example. The rising entrepreneur has not only other aspiring businesses to compete with, but also the monolithic, well-entrenched mega-corporations with loads of money.
Should you give up if the competition is just too… competitive? To be honest, if you do figure that there are simply way too many and/or too powerful competing companies in your chosen industry, it’s a valid course of action to consider. If your spirit of optimism and desire to rise above all is still the dominant voice in your head (and your board room, if applicable), there are ways you can take advantage of your rivals and inevitably come out ahead.
Let Them Be The Minesweepers.
Internet search giant Google was not the first commercial web search engine, for example. There were a lot of competing search engines at the dawn of the publicly available Internet like Magellan, Excite, Infoseek, Inktomi, Northern Light, AltaVista, and of course, Yahoo!. Google was a relative newcomer compared to them, and looking at the search scene now, most of those pioneering brands have either been bought out or defunct, and Google claims a commanding 67% of the world’s search market.
My point here is that you need not be the first to rush into the market with your product or service. Being the pioneer has some advantages, but there’s one distinct advantage if you come in later: you can learn from your forerunners’ mistakes. They may have set the bar, but that only means you have the chance to gain the right perspective and think of ways to surpass their established standards. Don’t wait too long to make your move, however.
Picking On Them Can Be Lucrative.
Very related to the point above, you can take advantage of situations in which the competition commits a misstep or faux pas, leveraging your own products or services and ensuring that your company won’t make the same mistake. This has become exceedingly easy to pull off with social media apps, but this has to be done sparingly. You want to portray your products/services as superior, and not acquire a reputation of being a petty heckler or troll.
Be Their Student.
A common mistake of many is not to acknowledge the breakthroughs and accomplishments of a competing company; this is negativistic attitude that will not benefit anybody. Analyzing your opponents’ moves will also improve your own strategies. It’s not just about attacking their weaknesses, it’s also imitating their best practices and tactics. This is most rewarding especially if you are the newbie, but even an older company can learn from the newcomers, those with the fresh new ideas and unique perspectives.
It is never easy to overcome and surpass the competition, especially in a very lucrative industry. Instead of simply shaking your fist at the heavens and throwing expletives at your adversaries, do something positive and discover your path to supremacy. Onward, entrepreneurs!
Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She shares a blog with her gang of gals, Word Baristas. She is based in San Diego, California.