Article by Jane Tweedy, Business Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre
Do you constantly keep watch on your competition? Are your competitors always copying you? Stop worrying about them and focus on you!
Assess their strengths and weaknesses
A healthy exercise every quarter is to review your SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). I also suggest checking your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, as these can produce opportunities and threats. We NEVER talk about a competitor’s weaknesses, but we can talk up a strength that we know offsets their weakness.
Perception and ‘the highlights reel’
What you see on social media (especially) creates perception about your competition. Rarely are they going to tell the world all their day to day struggles. Most people only put out their highlights reel, and that’s often why we get the perception a business is doing much better than they are!
I’m changing a business and one of the key services I offer will no longer be provided. Rather than exit completely, I found alternative providers that I could pass enquiries onto. This worked well, as I could screen them and give my ‘competitors’ partially qualified warm leads. Consider referring to someone else at times when you can’t deliver. Like big business, there are some restrictions on price fixing etc, but these sort of friendships are helpful!
Many business owners complain of copycats. Don’t stress about it, in fact be flattered that you’re that good they feel the need to copy you. If you are creating a very technical specialist innovation you may consider patenting your design, but otherwise there is little legal protection. All work, images and text are instantly copyrighted in Australia, but can be difficult to prove. However, if they can only copycat, their lack of innovation will probably be their undoing, which leads to the final point…
Focus your energy on you!
Snooping on competitors, worrying about what they’re up to, simply diverts attention from what’s really important – you and your clients. Put your time and energy into being the best you that you can be, and the competition won’t matter.