Four Reasons to Love Your Competition

Shaking HandsEvery business owner who has a blog has at some point had the following thought:

“Why am I giving away all my hard-earned wisdom for free when my competition could easily snap it up and use it against me?”

Competition is a scary thing. We all hope we’ll be the only person with this particular business innovation or that particular moment of genius, and that our idea is what launches us into greatness. Sometimes we’re right, sometimes we’re wrong, but the point is that it doesn’t do to blog about the unique ideas that makes you different and special.

Except sometimes it does. Here are four reasons to love that the competition reads your blog.

1. You’re a leader, not a follower

    When you’re the first person to do something, you establish yourself as the person who has ideas. So every blog in the hemisphere has the same exact idea in place four weeks later – so what? You’re still going to be the one who launched it, and people will refer back to you years later as the innovator of that new fantastic idea – you know, the one that was so fantastic that everyone in the world absolutely had to jump on the bandwagon.

    It doesn’t matter if your competition does the exact same thing as you did. You did it first, which very often means you did it best. By “best”, I mean that you profited from it.

    Don’t be afraid of putting your ideas on the table. You’re the one who isn’t a copycat. You’re the one blazing new trails. You’re the one going where no one has gone before.

    2. Competition inspires you to create new things

      Without competition, we’d still be listening to 8-tracks. That’s not a joke; media players have expanded by leaps and bounds because someone is always ready to jump in there with a new idea. A better quality of music, one that never skips or sounds fuzzy, for example. What about a player that’s easy and fun to use? What about digital audio?

      Without competition, these ideas would never have become reality, because there would be no one out there creating something better than 8-tracks.

      When you have competition, you have to improve. You can’t rest on your laurels because there’s someone doing what you do with a new gadget tacked on that makes it even better. Someone’s going to come up with a brand new game changer. And that’s a good thing, because it means two things:

      Life will never be boring. And your business will never be stagnant.

      3. Competition means differentiation.

        You and your competitor both sell an ebook about how to market online. It has the exact same content. It has almost the exact same words, in fact. So what makes yours better than the next guy’s?

        Competition means you have to figure out why a customer should prefer your product to anyone else’s. Maybe yours comes with more than the average number of swearwords. Maybe you have bad-ass sales techniques. It doesn’t really matter, honestly – none of these is any better than the next. But differentiation means different customers get excited about your product.

        Not the next guy’s. Yours.

        A whole different crew of customers might be excited about the next guy’s product instead of yours, but that doesn’t matter. Instead of a slew of bored customers all buying the same product, you have a bunch of customers who are very, very excited they bought from you instead of from the next guy over.

        Excitement instead of indifference? That’s a great thing.

        4. Competition makes you confident.

          When you’re the only person doing what you do, you’re not always certain you’re doing it right. Hell, you’re not even sure that you do it the best. You’re just the person who does it. That’s all you can say about yourself. You can’t say you do it better than anyone else, either, because no one else does it. You’re just there.

          That’s . . . not very exciting.

          When you have competition, you can point to your competitors and say “See what they do there? I don’t do that, because I know you don’t like it.}” You can also point at your competitors and say, “See what they don’t there? I do that. Because I know you like it.” You can say that you’re better than so-and-so, and you have concrete reasons why that’s true.

          Being able to say that you’re better for whatever reason gives you confidence in your business and in your product. You feel capable of taking on someone else because you can see that what you’ve done is superior to what they’ve done.

          That’s a good feeling.

          And it’s going to translate into a confidence that affects your sales, your demeanor, and ultimately the success of your business.

          Why do you love your competition?

          Post by James Chartrand

          James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

          Join the Discussion. Click Here to Leave a Comment.

          1. I don’t have that much direct competition. Oh, there’s millions of coaches for Work at Home Mums, but very, very few who focus on planning and organisation. Sooo, my competition have become my peers. We work differently. They do their stuff and I do mine and it’s different work.

            It’s a real relief to know why and how I’m different. I’m the Web expert in business planning, just for work at home mums. I’m definately leading here and it’s great fun and wonderfully challenging.

            I think uniqueness is the key to differentiating from your competition. We all think differently and have different experiences. We all have a different manner of speaking, and way of being understood. And so do our clients. If I and a competitor both put out a similar product, chance are we’re going to appeal to different audiences. One group of people, say they all prefer ebooks, will go for one format. While those who love watching video will gravitate to the other.

            It’s as much about our differences as it is about our similarities. Our competition tend to be not really all that similar in the end.
            .-= Melinda | SuperWAHM´s last blog ..SuperWAHM EZ-Notes – Pre-Release Sale and Giveaway =-.

          2. Archan Mehta says:

            James,

            Once again, this is an interesting post. Let me add my two cent’s worth.

            Yes, it is important to scan the external environment for market value.
            Competition is the name of the game, and differentiation can help.

            Even monitoring what your competition is doing can be of great help in terms of improving your product or service and making it more customer-friendly.

            However, exclusive focus on the competition is not always positive. Go beyond that and spread your horizons wide. Explore the library and haunt book-stores for new ideas. Even your competition, no matter how good, does not hold any monopoly over bright ideas: ideas can come from anywhere. Also, look inside your own self as a source of inspiration too.

            We don’t always know what we are capable of and lose sight of that fact.
            Winning in a competition is not the same thing as being creative and innovative and coming up with new ideas. Defeating somebody else in the marketplace is not enough: you have to raise the bar and set higher standards for yourself. Go within, for the answers you seek are right there.

          3. I agree wholeheartedly. When I first started as a newspaper reporter, I was nervous of competition (especially since the competing paper had a budget and staff which dwarfed ours by leaps and bounds). However, the drive to do my best, prove myself and find creative ways to get the scoops made me a much better reporter.

            I’d say the biggest lessons I’ve learned, both on the job and now in my post journo career as a writer/illustrator/etc…, is to accentuate what you do best and what makes you unique. The biggest difference between then and now is that I’ve made friends with a lot of my online competition and have found these relationships to be mutually beneficial.

          4. James

            Good post. I suppose that I can’t always agree with the following:

            people will refer back to you years later as the innovator of that new fantastic idea – you know, the one that was so fantastic that everyone in the world absolutely had to jump on the bandwagon.

            I’d wager that most people properly attribute ideas via URLs and references. Some don’t, unfortunately.

            I have thrown most of my ideas out there in either book or blog form, hoping that I can profit from the implementation of those ideas. While sites like Google and Wikipedia make it easy to find ‘best practices’ irrespective of topic, putting ideas into action is where judgment heavily comes into play. For that, I’d like to think that human intervention is generally a good idea.

            ps
            .-= Phil Simon´s last blog ..Three Ways to Get a Rush from Your Writing =-.

          5. Reason #5: Competition turns into collaboration and referrals. I can’t count the number of times over the years that someone else in my market space–a competitor, if you will–has approached me to work on a project with them or to take care of something for one of their clients that they can’t do. I’ve reached out to competitors to offer job opportunities, as well.

            There’s a wonderful world of collegiality out there once you stop looking at competitors as mortal enemies.

          6. If you know what you’re all about, and speak genuinely, then you have no competition. Only you can communicate the way you do, perceive things the way you do, and express yourself the way you do.

            By being authentic, then we effectively annihilate competition, because then we will only attract those who resonate with us to begin with.
            .-= Lexi Rodrigo´s last blog ..Make Blogging Easier with an Editorial Calendar =-.

          7. Worrying about competition also leads to a scarcity mentality. It sounds cliche, but I just learned to out-hustle my competition. If they gain ground, then I need to do something better…simple as that.
            .-= Nathan Hangen´s last blog ..Saturday Project Update – Reaching Critical Mass =-.

          8. because it shows me that there is money… lots of money in my market, and should i dominate – its gonna be game over! 😉
            .-= FJ – No BS Fitness Blog´s last blog ..A Military Workout – The Right Of Passage =-.

          9. From what i’ve learned about competition, especially in the blogging world, is that it’s definitely a good thing. If no-one else is doing the same thing then you have to ask yourself “Why?”. It’s probably because there’s no money in that market.

            I think that when looking for a niche to create a product or service around, you want a subject that has traffic and an acceptable level of competition.

            I’ve been questioning my particular target market because I’m not sure if they are willing to spend money.

            Interesting post, thanks.
            .-= Dave´s last blog ..Get Back Up And Try Again: Why Some Snowboarders Get So Good =-.

          10. Competition means there is a market. Without competition, is there really a market? Probably not.

            It’s also true that competition keeps you on your toes as well as allows you to focus your team on the “common evil.”
            .-= Jarie Bolander´s last blog ..Frustration Free Book Signing =-.

          11. @FJ – Good one. Competition demonstrates potential for demand. However, be careful with that one; I’ve seen plenty of competition working hard to reach a target market that just doesn’t really exist. 100 providers for 1 poor client – oy!

            @Nathan – That’s much the way I see it. I enjoy the competition because they basically show me where I can improve – and do better than them 😉

            @Lexi – I think that’s a bit of a dangerous mentality. I know plenty of people who are very genuine and who still have tons of competition.

            @Carson – Ah, good one. Your competition can be your next joint venture partner – yes!

            @Phil – So you feel that a good idea might go unrecognized because of the digital era? That could be… sounds like math, though 😉

            @David – Good one – the competition can actually show you your unique selling proposition. No thinking required!

            @Archan – Exclusive focus on the competition would quickly drive me nuts. I’m glad I don’t have to do that!

            @Melinda – The good thing about competition is that they don’t let us get too comfy and complacent. You’re at a good position now with what seems like a unique business, but you’ll appreciate it when you start to have more direct competition that forces you to be even more rockin’!

          12. I don’t know if any ideas (good or otherwise) will go unrecognized. I’m just a big believer in giving credit where it’s due. I believe that most people would agree with me.
            .-= Phil Simon´s last blog ..Three Ways to Get a Rush from Your Writing =-.

          13. Just starting a business blog and appreciate the advice. This was an initial concern for me, but all of your points remind us that success of those who embrace sharing information is very evident in business trends today.

          14. Kathleen K. O'Connor says:

            I spy on the competition regularly. It gives me ideas and allows me to think about how I can outdo them and position myself differently.

            I don’t really want to say that I am “better” than my competitors when I market to clients. I think I’d rather point out the things I think make me unique and make the client think I am the right choice without putting down my competitors in any way. There’s a thin line between confidence and arrogance.

            Thank you for another great blog post. There is always some food for thought here.

          15. Brett Legree says:

            Well… I love my competition (soon to be competition, that is) because I know what works for them (on their web site, during their sales pitches, and in their services provided) and I also know now, having worked with them as a client, what they could do to greatly improve their services.

            But they will not do that, at least, not for a while, because their leaders are encumbered by old school thought patterns.

            This is one way we will be different. We are agile, we are not afraid to use different methods and tools to do the work more effectively and more efficiently.

            That is why we will succeed. They are smart, we are just as smart and in some ways, smarter.
            .-= Brett Legree´s last blog ..the terminal man. =-.

          16. @James
            Yeah very true… but if I wasn’t training clients by now I’d be worried. And I’m here, chillin. All is well.

            But differentiation is also forced… as you stated in the article. I steal clients from regular PT’s just because I’m gymnastics certified and can take them on the Olympic trampoline for a little fun (still a solid workout… try bouncing max height for 15 mins straight)
            .-= FJ – No BS Fitness Blog´s last blog ..The Placebo Effect On Sports Supplements =-.

          17. Michael Martine says:

            Nobody does things the way I do. My clients don’t belong to anyone else, and theirs don’t belong to me. However, mistakes get made along the way. My idea of competition is reducing those mistakes.
            .-= Michael Martine´s last blog ..The Hustling Secrets No One Talks About =-.

          18. Copycats definitely exist but I pay them no mind. If they had the ingenuity and drive to produce their own work, they wouldn’t be trailing my wake, right? Even a skilled thief can only front it for so long before their incompetence shows through.

            A true competitor can provoke admiration or irritation in me – both have happened – but if they’ve got talent, there’s something I can learn from them. This is especially true if they shine in an area in which I’m weak. Sometimes the most valuable lesson I take from someone is what I don’t do well, which spurs me to focus on my strengths.
            .-= Valerie Alexander´s last blog ..Selling Your Value – Part I =-.

          19. So True, Pepsi V Coke

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