GROWING YOUR BUSINESS: Know your competition

Growing your businessby Dan Beaulieu
Business consultant

We all have competition; we all have people and companies we are competing with vying for the same accounts. The hospitality businesses for example (restaurants, pubs, take-out food places) are all tremendously competitive businesses. As are service companies, construction companies, retail stores and just about every other kind of business.
We live in a capitalist society and capitalism leads to competition…thank goodness! Can you imagine what life would be like if there was only one restaurant in your town? If there was only one hardware store? It would not be good. If you didn’t have variety, a number of companies to choose from, things would not only get very stale the service could become deplorable. This is why at the federal level we have anti-trust, anti- monopoly regulations.

Remember when all we have for phone service was good old Ma Bell? They controlled everything. I remember sneaking an extra extension phone in my house which was illegal! (fortunately, the statute of limitation must be up so I can breathe easier now. Whew! But you get the point, those of us who remember living under the iron rule of the Ma Bell regime know what happens when a company has a monopoly, and it is not a pretty picture.

But now, fortunately, we do have competition and no matter what our business is, competition makes us better. It makes us more well…competitive.

Here are a few ways to deal with the competition in your business: (inspired by the book Amaze Every Customer Every Time, by Shep Hyken)

  • Instead of disrespecting the competition learn from them.
  • Check them out, see what they are doing to get and keep customers and then find a better way.
  • Use what you know about them to better differentiate your business.
  • Consider working with them in partnership. Healthy competition is always more productive than the alternative.
  • When researching your competition figure out what you can do better. It will make your company better.

And finally, ask yourself how your company’s strengths differ from those of your competitors. Do these strengths give you an advantage that generates referrals from competitors.

And one more tip: never, ever, underestimate your competition, always treat them with respect and as a worthy opponent. In the end it will make your company better and will help you grow your company.


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