The Courage to Compete

Courage to Compete

In a perfect world, it would make life a lot easier to just eliminate our competition. We could all run our businesses easier without any competition to worry about, right?

Wrong.

The smartest business owners know that competition can help create loyal customers for their own business and drive business as a whole.

It’s unwise to focus too much time on what others are doing; but it is always wise to study your competition and figure out how your competition can actually be used to your advantage. With the right mindset and perspective, your competition can become one of your greatest assets.

Here’s how:

Brand Ownership

Competition creates ownership for your customers and audience. Competition creates stories, underdogs, and sides. Competition gives you the opportunity to market yourself by simply giving people something to talk about.

Take a youth sporting league for example. Two small town rival baseball teams or cheerleading teams can fill up the stands with support because everyone wants THEIR team (aka BRAND) to be the front runner. These people fill up the stands wearing their team names and team colors (free advertising) just to make sure that people know which side they’re on.

No one would go watch a baseball team hit balls around the diamond without any competition; there’s no way to grow that way. And there’s a clear reason that cheerleading recitals don’t exist: people want the chance to stand behind what they believe in.

People want to live the story of your brand. People want to watch a story unfold and often times, the greatest way to tell a great story is by using your competition to brand yourself.

Everyone wants to be a part of something and your brand gives you the opportunity to create that something and give your customers a sense of community. The challenge lies in making sure that your brand, your team, and your community is the one that everyone wants to be a part of.

Competition helps you breed brand ownership, which in turn creates loyal customers.

Brand Integrity

Having competition can also help you show your customers that you run a moral and ethical business as well.

As stated above, you’ve got to make your brand the team that people want to be on. Depending on your industry and specifics, you must find ways to humanize your brand and give it heart and character. Share real stories of real people that are a part of your company. Don’t just tell people how you do what you do, show them your why. Why is it important to you? Competition can copy how you do something and others can copy what you do, but if you can show people your why, you can gain customers through your genuine passion behind why you do what you do.

Word of mouth has been one of the greatest marketing tools a small community based business has; and I’m sure it will continue to be.

People talk- and when you’re doing great things and running a business with great customer service- word will spread.

With competition, it’s easy to get wrapped up in what others are doing and if someone wrongs you or your brand, your first instinct is typically to retaliate or to boast as to why your brand is better.

Always choose the high road. Run your business with integrity and you won’t ever need to explain why your business is better than someone else’s. Let your actions and positivity speak for them. Remember, how people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.

Brand Growth

If you’re a competent business owner running your brand with integrity, competition can be one of the most exciting parts about running your company. As an entrepreneur, competition gives you the opportunity to examine yourself and hold your best practices accountable. Are you running your business as efficiently as you can be? Are you being proactive and searching out ways to innovate? Or are you being reactive to what others in your industry are doing?

Over time competition can reveal your weaknesses; however, a smart business owner is always working to be one step ahead. This is not by ignoring your shortcomings but by being aware of your weaknesses, embracing guidance from others to improve, and working to overcome any obstacles standing in your way.

Competition forces you to think outside of the box; it challenges you to question your business practices, and forces you to evolve into running the strongest business possible. Competition also gives you the chance to reflect and ask yourself questions that force you to challenge yourself and grow. It’s not about being the best; it’s about being better than you ever thought YOU could be.

There’s a reason why you can so often find a Burger King within a 5 mile radius of every McDonald’s and there’s a reason why both companies stay in business and stay profitable. Competition creates consumerism and drives creativity. Competition keeps you on your toes and holds you accountable for running a great business.

Without competition, business would get pretty boring. If you’re running a business that you believe in, with integrity, and you are able to identify your own strengths and weaknesses- you’re in a pretty great spot. When you align your beliefs with your business, no one can touch you.

Appreciate competition, it means your service or product is valuable; and more importantly, don’t be afraid to go against a big name if you’re following your passions and beliefs.

Chase your dreams, not your competition… But always have the courage to compete.

Remember, it’s much better to be a bull in the ring than a calf in the slaughterhouse.

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