Excerpted from the book on mindful business management, Business Black Belt.
Look around for the sucker.
If you can’t recognize him, it’s probably you.
~ Poker player’s adage
Believe it or not, competition can actually improve your business.
I analyze my advertising results because I invest a lot of money and I want to know exactly what is paying off and why. We graph our ad results by media month to month. We also keep copies of all of our ads. One day I decided to take out all our ad “tear sheets” for one magazine (it was the classified section), lay them side by side on the table, and compare them to the bar chart showing total sales from this magazine for each month. Why was there a spike in sales after a particular month? Why was there a significant dip in sales after another month? Were these seasonal things? Did we say something or design our ads differently between these months? Were there any other factors?
After considering all the possibilities and finding nothing, I decided to see what the trends were when our competitor appeared in the magazine. Then I found something. When our competitor appeared on the same page, our sales went up! When they appeared right next to our ad, our sales went even higher! Why? Customers would call and ask, “How is your software different from your next-door neighbor?” We had good answers for that and we took their order four out of five times. But I still couldn’t come up with a truly reasonable answer for why our sales would increase when the competitor’s ads were literally next to ours. I thought sales would surely decline because customers had another option.
One of our product advisors provided the answer: Having two ads side-by-side actually provided more selling area that caught people’s eye before they turned the page. There were two messages enticing people to buy business planning software so it increased the likelihood of being seen. We had more customers seeing our ad. Once they saw it, they would call and order. Our competitor was actually helping us expand the awareness of business planning products.
Competitors are like castor oil.
At first they make you sick, then they make you better.
Don’t try to put your competitors out of business
I strongly recommend that you erase the focus of trying to put your competitors out of business, even as a marketing strategy. It’s bad karma—what goes around comes around—and the effort in this direction will likely come back around to bite you. Instead, focus on delivering what is best for your customers. Do it better than your competitors do, but keep your focus on your customers.
If we devote our time disparaging the products of our business rivals, we hurt business generally, reduce confidence, and increase discontent.
~ Edward N. Hurley,
Business Black Belt Notes
- Competitors may actually help to expand the universe of your interested customers.
- In the long run, competitors who copy you will never get ahead of you.
- Focus on your customers and only peripherally your competitors.
- Keep an eye on your competition because you need your customer’s perspective.
BizPlanBuilder writes a professional business plan for your project quickly and efficiently. Its organized system of pre-scripted sample business plan templates in Microsoft® Word, flexible Excel financial models, and PowerPoint presentation example can be downloaded as an app or accessed online where you can collaborate with your team and advisors. Windows / Macintosh.
It’s the fastest and easiest way of turning your ideas into an investment-grade business plan and a successful business. BizPlanBuilder also supplements the “business model canvas” and “lean start-up” ideas to give investors the details they want before writing you a check.
It’s the funding leader evolved and vetted over 25+ years through thousands of deals with banks, SBA lenders, angel investors & venture capitalists worldwide.