You Gotta Love the Competition

By Nechama Leitner Let's Talk Business 4 min read

There are two ways to look at your competition: as a curse, or as a blessing.

It’s an old story.

Two friends, Joe and Dan, move to a new town. Both being entrepreneurial guys, Joe decides to open a pizza shop, and Dan opens a grocery store.

After a few months, they meet and start chatting about their new business ventures. Joe is distraught. His pizza store is not doing well at all, and he fears he’ll have to close his doors. Meanwhile, Dan’s grocery business is booming. They discussed what led them to create their businesses.

Joe says, “When I was looking to move to the area, I saw that there were no pizza stores in town, so I figured it would be a great opportunity.” Dan responds, “That’s funny, my thinking was just the opposite: I saw that there were a few grocery stores in town already, so I figured there’s probably room for one more.”

Moral of the story? There are two ways to look at your competition: as a curse, or as a blessing.

Many of us view competition as a liability. We see others doing the same thing we’re doing and we get scared:

How will I be able to win customers over when the market is so crowded? How can I compete with someone offering the same thing at a lower price point?

In many cases, having no competition whatsoever is actually a bad thing. For instance, it’s possible that, before Joe, many just-as-skilled-and-determined entrepreneurs had tried to open a pizza store in that town, but couldn’t make it successful because the demand simply wasn’t there.

Bottom line? Competition equals validation.

It means your idea is a good one and there are customers interested in what you have to offer. If nobody’s doing it, that might be because it’s not worth doing! As Daymond John puts it, “Pioneers get slaughtered, and settlers prosper.” If you’re alone in a market wondering where the competition is, you should consider that you may be alone with no customers.

Now, that doesn’t mean having competition is easy. The more competition there is in a market, the harder you’ll have to work to stand out and differentiate yourself.

Here are 4 Ptex Practical Pointers for ways you can use your competition to your advantage:

1. Innovate by adding value.

Competition breeds innovation. In a crowded market, you’ll never succeed by doing the same thing your competition is doing. That means you’re forced to figure out how you can deliver your product/service better than the competition. Never get sucked into price wars—instead, lead with value. Improve your customer experience. Employ better marketing. Use better technology. Improve your product itself. Whatever you do, offer more value, and customers will want to choose you.

2. Learn from their successes (and mistakes)

Pay close attention to what your competitors do well—and what they don’t do so well. This can teach you a tremendous amount about your business, your market, and your opportunities for growth. Your competitions’ practices can give you valuable insight as to what works and what doesn’t. To adapt the famous saying, “Keep your friends close, and your competition closer.”

3. Shake off complacency

It’s just human nature: competition makes us want to be better. It makes us less complacent, more determined, more driven to innovate, and it makes our employees push themselves more, too. Without becoming obsessed with your competition, capitalize on this competitive spirit to keep on improving, building and growing your business.

4. Copycats are Compliments

If others are copying you—you should be proud! This means that what you’re doing is working, and that others are watching and learning from you. Imitation is the best form of flattery. Take it as a sign that your hard work is paying off, pat yourself on the back, and keep upping your game so you stay a step ahead.

The only time you should be scared of competition is if they’re outsmarting you and delivering your product or service better than you can.

Otherwise, competition is probably the best thing for your business. Don’t underestimate its power to push you out of your comfort zone and propel your business forward in unimaginable ways.

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