It can be nerve-wracking to have competition – especially when you’re a small business owner trying to find your stride. But rather than shunning your counterparts at networking events or stressing over their next big sale, take a moment to think about how competition makes your business better and your customers happier.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Everyone hates the age old interview question, “What’s your greatest weakness.” But that question is still as probing today and it was the first time you heard it. Identifying your greatest weakness – and being honest with yourself about it – is the first step toward making improvements. Sometimes it’s a matter of professional development and education and other times it’s about bringing in a new staff member to take on those roles for you, but you have to know there’s a problem first.
On the other hand, knowing your greatest strengths and being able to see how they make you better than the competition gives you an opportunity for grow. Improving your weaknesses while becoming even better at what you do best will give you a competitive edge with your key customers.
Keeps You On Your Toes
Healthy competition encourages change and innovation. If you’re the only business providing your particular goods or services, there’s no tangible reason to improve. That’s dangerous because it makes you complacent and gives other entrepreneurs a chance to step in and do what you’re doing – only better. Being neck and neck with another company and having to push to be better makes your business stronger and benefits your customers, employees and community.
Competition is good for consumers not only because it makes companies offer quality products and services at competitive prices, but also because it means companies have to have the best customer service. When you know your customer can easily drop you and go with another business, you have to step up your game.
Having competition in the market can force business leaders to identify their customers and find better ways to cater to the group. That can turn into anything from providing more specialized products and services to ensuring your business locations are on target. Focusing on your key customers is a great way to build on existing business and encourage your customers to refer your business.
Also, when there are other businesses out there who do some of what you do or have a similar product or service, it allows you to target specific clients rather than trying to provide services for everyone. That means you can get better at what you do best rather than stretching to try to meet the needs of every potential customer, even when they’re not a good fit.
Great business leaders are always on the lookout for new knowledge and, often, expanded professional development for their team. The market changes, the customer’s expectations shifts, the technology improves, the products get better… if you’re without competition, what’s the point of staying on top of it all? Additionally, if your competition is doing better than you, that gives you the opportunity to learn from your counterparts and grow your brand.