One thing about setting up in business is the fear of competition. In numerous social networking groups the same concern raises its head time and time again for those just starting out:

But there are so many others doing what I’m aiming to do...’

…’and they have more experience than me!’

…’and they have an established reputation!’

…’but they’re doing it that way!

Maybe I should be doing it that way?

 

Many respond by advising the person to stop following the competition; it’s self-destructive; will only hold you back; or worse still, it may make you give up on your business plans all together!  Although I disagree with the statement ‘stop following the competition’ I 100% agree that the way we deal with the competition should change.

 


 

 

It’s not so much about how you analyse the competition; it’s about your motivation and mindset when exploring this area; and how you create strong business strategies from the information you find.  Why, after all, can your competitor not be your ally?

Firstly, let’s consider why it is important to follow the competition. 

You can:

  • assess the current state of the market, i.e. how many potential customers may be out there; what prices to set to ensure you are competitive; and importantly assess if your business is a worthwhile venture.
  • find out what works really well, and what doesn’t work quite so well; giving you a good understanding of how to operate your business in order to succeed.
  • gauge future risks to your business; and by having your ear to the ground you can better prepare; e.g. for when your competitors are about to launch a marketing campaign that could draw your customers away.

This is not an exhaustive list.  There are many other reasons why it makes strategic sense to follow your competition, and there are a lot of articles out there to help you with this.  These articles explain, well, why it is essential you investigate your competition. Most however are written by conventional thinkers who believe the importance is to take advantage of your competitors weaknesses, improving your own business, and in doing so win the customers to your side of the street.  Business is cutthroat after all – you or them – isn’t it?  This article is not about that.  It’s about finding a better way to do things, and I strongly believe making an enemy of your competitor is not the right way.

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Competitive Analysis needn’t be a negative thing!

Unless you are trading in a very niche market, where competition can break your business, competitive analysis needn’t be a negative thing.  At Sustain-a-Bill.co.uk we believe there’s always a better way, and that way is together.  Now let us look at this from a different angle.


Competition is a good thing!  In 2012, The World Bank published a report on competition policy which provided 3 main insights:

  1. Market competition directly leads to innovation, efficiency measures and economic growth;
  2. Promoting competition results in lower prices and better deals, for businesses as well as consumers;
  3. And policies to prevent anti competitive behaviour increases the opportunity for new businesses to thrive across a wide range of sectors.

Now as a growing global consumer base is opening up, with social marketing and online sales, don’t you believe there’s enough customers out there for all of us?   Wikipedia provides interesting statistics around Global Internet Usage, quoting the World Internet Users Statistics findings that by June 2018 over half of the world’s population has internet access!  Now  with that in mind is there anything truly to be concerned about?

By working alongside our competitors we can set up a strong support system; one where we share what works well, and  where there’s always help available for the areas that do not work quite so well.  By building good relationships we can promote each others services and even pull each other onside when a job requires that little bit extra that you can provide.

And remember, what’s the one key ingredient your competition does not have?  Well, that’s you. 

We all bring a unique angle to the work we do from the skills, experience, knowledge and personal traits we bring to our business; so instead of feeling overwhelmed or intimidated by those you are competing against, learn to work alongside them. 


Remember, the key to any analysis is identifying the correct information that can be used to form strong strategies; ones that help sustain your business against what the future brings.  Competitors may not just be those with the same business as you.  A competitor can be anyone or anything that impacts the custom you receive.  A new computer program that helps a person manage their accounts, for example, can take business away from accountancy firms.  We offer an  inclusive package where we help you find even the most unseen stakeholders that can impact your plans; and we find positive solutions on how to use this information to its optimum.  Please contact us for your free 90 minute consultation.  We can design a plan that suits your needs and your budget; and we deliver on the agreed outcome without costing you any extra than the negotiated price.

Written by Sue Baker. 

Founder and Chief Energizer

at Sustain-a-Bill.co.uk


Sue knows how together it’s all definitely better! After all, you can make all the efficiency and positive improvements you wish, however without engagement and understanding of the systemic viewpoint, well, Sue’s seen many of these initiatives fail in their first year.  That’s why she’s bringing you Sustain-a-Bill, the toolkit to help you succeed, personally and professionally, and the community that brings everyone together.

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References:

The World Bank (2012). ‘Competition Policy: Encouraging thriving markets for development.  Viewpoint Public Policy Journal 73637.  Available online at: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/778181468328582034/pdf/NonAsciiFileName0.pdf (Accessed 13 February 2019).

Wikipeida.org (2019). Global Internet Usage.  Available online at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Internet_usage (Accessed 13 February 2019).

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Sue

I grew up in the company of trees and openly confess I occasionally hug them for the energy rush! I've not had it easy, though this has given me the resilience and passion to get things done. As well as doing what I can to improve environmental practices, I'm extremely passionate about social issues and mental health. This is why I'm concentrating on supporting people to manage the conflict in their personal and professional lives. Follow me at www.sustainabill.co.uk and help find that better way...

4 Comments

Béatrice · 21 February, 2019 at 07:57

This blog post is absolutely wonderful and sooooo informative. It’s very relevant too for the stage I’m at. As a highly sensitive, I’ve always been scared of competition, I tend to avoid numbers too. It’s my weak spot. Because as you say competition is good, there’s enough, and we’re all truly unique so there’s nothing to fear. I’m going to work on this energetically and I would be interested in hearing more precisely what you do!!!

    Sue · 21 February, 2019 at 09:06

    Thank you Béatrice, it’s really great to hear how my post has inspired you.
    The more comments we receive here the more we can learn from each other, so anyone reading this please don’t be concerned about joining in 🙂

    I understand all too well how being highly sensitive can impact our lives. Growing up as an empath it was extremely difficult to manage all the feelings I picked up on; much of the time I took things way too personally! And without seeing the full picture this caused me so many problems. We more easily see just how much this holds us back, causing conflict in our lives, however do you overlook how it’s something that can be drawn on more proactively?

    My ‘I’m Personal‘ program is perfect for this. It helps to step back and look at conflict from different perspectives. By considering the true context of any situation, and understanding more about the people you are interacting with, you can manage anxieties while creating more rewarding relationships with others. I’m looking forward to working with you on this. Do sign up to the Sustain-a-Bill digest to ensure you’re the first to see future posts and the free tools I’ll be sharing.

Steph · 14 February, 2019 at 07:44

A really great article, thanks! I think something else people don’t realise is that when they feel intimidated because the market is saturated it’s often because they’re subconsciously looking out for businesses like their own, so they see more of them

    Sue · 14 February, 2019 at 11:31

    That’s very true Steph.

    It’s good to look at a different viewpoint for this. Your comment makes a very good point; one that will hopefully help those feeling daunted by all the competition they feel has suddenly sprung up! IMHO I’d be more worried about the competition I couldn’t see!

    Thanks for feeding in.

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