Why you shouldn’t fear your competition
When I noticed the repeat of the award-winning TV drama Broadchurch recently, I couldn’t help thinking back to when it was first screened (apologies to non-UK-based readers).
It was on at exactly the same time as another, very similar drama!
Both stories focused on the devastating impact of a child’s death on the community and you couldn’t help but wonder if the two competing TV channels were openly copying each other.
I was rather intrigued by how they deal with competition.
To my surprise both had been produced by the same company but for competing channels— it was a transparent arrangement, and the directors had even read each other’s scripts!
I think this delivers a most reassuring message to solopreneurs and small businesses — that it needn’t be scary to study our competitors (as they will be checking us out too).
So even if you worry about working in the same niche and not being able to compete, try not to lose confidence in your own proposition. In my experience, it is quite rare for competitors to be a major threat to the point where you find suspicious similarities in someone’s offering or pricing.
Indeed, in my twenty-odd years in business I’ve only felt threatened like that once.
Not long after launching a new service 10 years ago, I discovered that a competitor was copying my idea. A client had forwarded me what read like my own original marketing messages!
I can’t tell you how angry and disappointed I felt!
Some colleagues tried to reassure me by saying I should feel flattered that I had an idea worth copying.
But I just felt betrayed.
Luckily it wasn’t for too long — it turned out my competitor‘s service failed after a few months!
So what’s the learning here?
1) To always keep your core ideas to yourself or only share them with people you trust. (I had been quite open prior to the launch and way too trusting with people I didn’t know very well.
2) To not underestimate the need for continuous improvement. It is important to test and run a pilot with new products and services. And above all, to carefully listen to the feedback from your customers!
3) Then, to stop worrying!
I eventually realised that my competitor hadn’t fully grasped my service’s benefits. Nor did they have the same passion (or experience) to deliver — after all, it isn’t that easy to copy the heart and soul of someone else’s offering.
So try not to fear your competitors. But, as some competition is healthy and keeps you on your toes, competitors should always be on your radar, and it is a good idea to get to know them.
Understanding your competitor’s service may even help you to understand the heart and soul of yours better.
No two services are ever exactly the same!
Elbert Hubbard said, “Do your work with your whole heart, and you will succeed – there’s so little competition.”
About Ute Wieczorek-King:
Hi, my name is Ute and I’m an experienced German business mentor, trainer and blogger who is based in the UK. I help passionate midlife women to stay focused, work smarter and stand out from the crowd.
Take your small venture from good to great with my free “Passion to Profit ebook.
Or attract more readers to your blog with blog coaching and lots of free tips at www.attractreaders.co.uk
PS. The above post was first published on Success Network Recipes