Apple vs. Windows. Southwest vs. Jet Blue. Pepsi vs. Coke. Starbucks vs. Dunkin’ Donuts. Do you know what all of these competitors have in common? They’re healthy, they understand how to compete and when to change the rules, and they’re making billions.
Would you be happy to have a business similar to any of the above, even if it meant that a similarly-savvy behemoth always kept you on your toes? We bet you would. We would too.
So what do these companies, and thousands of others, understand about competition that makes them so profitable? Here’s what we think, and we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below:
- They keep their egos in check (well, for the most part)
- One of the most devastating thoughts for a business owner or marketer is: “they aren’t as good as us” or “we’re the best at this and no one can touch us”. These are the famous last words of Pan Am Airways and the Roman Empire.
- Understanding that although you may be having a moment in the spotlight, there are always others out there doing everything they can to take a piece of their own, will keep you on your toes. You won’t rest on a ‘good enough’ product or service, and you’ll always be looking for new ways to innovate and compete in a changing marketplace. This will keep others in the position of always having to catch up to you.
- They put it all on the table
- This is an issue we see all the time from small businesses. They don’t want to publicly announce their competitive advantages or resources because they don’t want their competitors to either see what they’re doing, or worse, mimic it in their own programs. While we understand the reasoning behind this, the bottom line is that if your competitors don’t see your value, neither will your prospective customers. So you’ve already lost before you started.
- When promoting information, we say: “say it loud, and say it proud”. Shout your message from the rooftops and make sure everyone knows that you own it. Then if they try to copy you, they will always look like a cheap imitation.
- They have respect
- No Cheap Shots! Ever. Resorting to this level only makes you look weak.
- They know where they can win, and where they can’t, and they’re flexible to change.
- Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are a great example of this. Sure, they have some customer crossover, but for the most part, their markets are pretty well defined. By staying true to each of their core values, they’ve both developed unimaginably strong brand loyalty. You’ve seen the bumper stickers and Christmas tree ornaments, right?
- Sometimes, they can even work together.
- This one took us a few years to really wrap our heads around. When we first began, we tried to take on everything; we hardly ever turned a project down because it was outside of our core service. And that was a big mistake; because there is just no way that a company can be the best at everything in their field. By leveraging partnerships with organizations we know, like, and trust; we are now able to open ourselves up to bigger and better jobs that allow us to excel in the areas where we specialize. Sure, we’re giving up a percentage of the revenue; but this has opened up tremendous opportunities and bigger jobs. And now we’re being offered opportunities to partner with these competitors on their own projects. It’s a Win-Win!
- They use competition to their fullest advantage.
- The most important point we can make about competition is that it can easily be the driving force that makes your company better. By monitoring your competition and keeping tabs on what works, and what doesn’t, for them; you can make changes to improve your own organization.
- Some of the most innovative products and services have been developed as a result of competition. So pay close attention to what those companies you strive to beat are doing; it may help you to uncover your Next Big Thing.