The business field is a battlefield where competition is the enemy. Right? False, because competition is a fundamental aspect of business. True entrepreneurs know that seeing competitors only as “adversaries” means having a limited and potentially harmful vision. Break with this scheme and implement a strategy to establish alliances with your competition and, in this way, strengthen your company. Hard to achieve? Here some ideas to get it.
- Research who your competitors are. This seems elementary, but in practice many business owners and sellers make a number of mistakes. For example, if you have a retail store, of course your competition are other retailers that sell similar merchandise.
However, that is not all, you also compete with other key factors:
The businesses that cover the needs of your customers with items that you do not offer and that you have not even thought about integrating.
Those companies that have a novel offer and that make your products or services seem obsolete.
Therefore, identify who “all” of your competitors are. Remember that you have to include, in addition to those that seem “obvious”, to all who appear on your radar.
- Find out everything you can about the competition. Pay attention to everything each of your competitors does. To do this, create individual intelligence files, where you include articles that talk about them in business publications, newspapers and magazines. It also analyzes your internet presence.
To facilitate your research, use tools such as Google Alerts, which are sent by email when online news articles that match the topics you specify appear. Or, if you want to go further, send someone you trust to your competitor’s store or office to see how it operates.
- Develop links. Once you’ve investigated, the next step is to “get closer.” How to do it? To start, register for the associations and participate in the activities organized by the business chambers of the industry where you operate. The objective is to know and interact with the owners and managers who work for the companies that constitute your competition. Tip: You never know if today or in the future these relationships can be useful.
- Prepare to cooperate and collaborate when necessary. If you know or anticipate that something will have a strong positive or negative impact on your industry, it is time to find your competitors to join forces and take appropriate action. For example, opposing or supporting certain pending legislation that could affect your companies.
On the other hand, you may face a situation in which your competitors can be a great support. Imagine that you have to receive an order, which exceeds your capacity and infrastructure. In this case, if you have an excellent reciprocity relationship, you can outsource your competitor to take care of a part. Or if the competitor suffers an accident of some kind that prevents him from attending to his clients, you can take action and help him. Not only would it be a good business, but it is also the right thing to do.
- Let them know you better. When a competitor takes the lead, do your best to find out what the reason is; But don’t use it as an excuse to recognize defeat. Once you understand what the other is doing for the clientele to prefer, discover what you could change to become more attractive. It’s not just about copying everything others do, rather than taking their best ideas, testing their effectiveness and perfect them.
- Resist the temptation to compete on prices. It is tempting to lower prices to gain more market. The problem is that it is a strategy that does not work in the long term, as there will always be a cheaper product. The solution is to add value to your offer through customer service or by incorporating a wide variety of services to meet all types of needs.
- Always be alert. Fair competition is great: it forces everyone to do their best. But not all participants play fair. Sometimes, there are people who believe that the best way to build their company is to destroy others or with traps. When that happens, a customized response is required. So don’t postpone legal action if it is necessary.
Internet is the ideal medium where you can find competitors who do dirty tricks. Participate in blogs, discussion forums and social networks to know what is said about you online and maintain a good reputation.