Big business loves to teach us to do “SWOT” analyses" where the “T” is for “Threats”, those evil competitors who are going to swoop in and steal our clients any day. The only threats you should ever be worried about come from within your own company and your own head.
The problem is bad thinking and bad strategies on your part. Here’s some examples:
You either live in a world of abundance or a world of scarcity, and whichever one you choose affects everything you do.
This isn’t woo-woo crap. This is hard-core success thinking. If you live in a zero sum world then there’s only so much to go around, and you better get yours before the next guy gets his. If you live in a world of abundance you figure out how to help other people be successful so that you can be, too. I do a weekly lunch with 50-60 business owners and regularly have “competition” there who “steal” potential clients. I’m glad they find clients there. I do, too. Everyone says it’s the best weekly lunch environment they’ve ever been around, because it’s based on living in a world of abundance.
People who focus on trying to figure out what makes their competition successful don’t have enough good ideas of their own.
We don’t have time to figure out what others are doing – we’re too busy trying to breathe life into our own ideas. Focus on getting better, not on your competition.
Focus on your client’s needs, not your competition’s products.
I expend a lot of energy figuring out what my clients need (which isn’t necessarily what they always want right away). If you do that, you won’t have time to focus on what other providers are doing.
You’re a terrible guesser, anyway.
I’ve seen companies dissect the products, services or marketing of other companies, then mimic it, only to find out they were mimicking the worst part of what the others were doing. The mimic thought it was what made them successful, and so did they. They’re thanking the mimic for helping them see it clearly while the mimic goes out of business.
The two last words of a dying company are “Me, Too.”
The best way to ensure you are irrelevant is to mimic other people’s successes rather than creating your own. That strategy is fundamental to a world of scarcity, but worse yet it shows a complete lack of originality, passion, cause, mission, or joy in what you do. And it means you’re only in it for the money. And people who try to make money make a lot less than people who birth something the world can use.
If someone “beats” you, they simply have something the customer needs that you don’t.
Rejoice for the customer. If you also have things other customers will want, you’ll attract those relationships and the other guy won’t. When you try to be all things to all men you become nothing to anyone (a wandering generality vs. a meaningful specific – Ziz Ziegler).
If you have something meaningful to offer, you will get customers. If you don’t you won’t. Blaming “competitors” for “losing” contracts is nonsense. Just get better in a few things and go deeper, not wider. If you’re not losing a lot of opportunities, you’re too wide and likely are delivering on the edge of mediocrity. Not a great long term strategy.
The bottom line
Get the idea of competition out of your head and focus on being the best at whatever great idea you’ve birthed. And while you’re at it, try to figure out how to make the other guy successful, too. You’ll make a lot more money and have a lot more fun.
by Chuck Blakeman
Author of the #1 Rated Business Book of the Year - Making Money is Killing Your Business
The Crankset Group