There are pros and cons to being competitive, but in business being competitive it is essential. Just because you are competitive with another company does not make you enemies! In fact, it is extremely important to critically analyse your competition and learn from their strengths and weaknesses in the market.
Learning from competition
If a competitor does something well, you can replicate these tactics and improve upon them. However, if they do something more effective than you, it’s important to look at this tactic and see how you can implement it and add additional value on top.
Each company is at different stages. Some companies may be start-ups and other companies may be well established market leaders. No matter which stage you are in, you need to remain competitive because the market can be captured by companies of any size. Start-ups may look to established companies to see what their biggest barriers have been and how to avoid similar hurdles. Perhaps an established company was very reactive to changes in technology and their digital platforms were always struggling to keep up with the latest trends. Moreover, maybe their website wasn’t mobile-friendly or their online ordering system wasn’t very intuitive.
A start-up in a similar market may learn to adapt quickly and invest in technology that changes the customer experience and how the manage their goods for customers. For example, let’s say a big company had an outdated inventory system, using spreadsheets and undergoing a manual stock take. In a start-up, they may not have enough staff to do manual a stock take. Instead, they decide to optimise this process with software. Instead of investing in more staff, they might choose to invest in technology that is scalable and can cope with growth. Inventory software can lead to a more efficient stock take and overall management of goods.
Another way to learn from your competitors is to attend industry conferences and networking events. Often competitors will showcase their newest developments and be willing to talk about products in the market. These conferences also host thought-provoking and inspiring speakers who can shed light on an industry’s direction and new developments. During networking events, you can build connections with suppliers that have worked in your industry. These suppliers can provide advice and insight. Suppliers are facilitators to your direct competition and they may grasp industry trends that start-ups might struggle to predict.
Moreover, gaining an understanding of your competition through their content and marketing is a strategic way to learn how they approach information distribution. It is imperative to have a thorough read through any website content, blogs, videos or infographics that they distribute. Critically assess what social media platforms they use and which ones appear to be effective. You can see what kind of voice or personality they use for their business and how it supports their brand. By understanding how the competition manages their content, you can choose to shape yours in a similar or different direction.