Your Competition can Teach You

I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this, you have competition out there in the business world. Having rivals out there makes us better business people. But to utilize the competition like any other business tool, your first step is knowing who they are. Too many people go into business with out understanding who their competitors in that business will be or how those competitors do business.   Such a blind leap into the business world is tantamount to an NFL team preparing for the super bowl not only without doing any research on their opponents, but without even knowing who their opponents will be. Studying your competition does not equal obsessing over them. If anything, being aware of your competition will allow you to learn from their mistakes with out having to make them yourself, and develop more productive strategies against them, therefore decreasing the time you spend worrying about them at all.

Trade shows are an easy place to hunt down your competitors. You can get information from their booths, look at their advertisements, and observe the different ways they market and communicate in the workplace, even speak to their representatives. You can possibly figure out if they use contract manufacturers or how their logistics work. If you can work out what their distribution strategy is, you can market regionally and develop relationships with businesses that do what you do who are not in your market. There is no overemphasizing how much information you will get out of those relationships.

Plan for your own business by using what your competitors taught you. Consider what things you want to do the same as they have and what things you want to do differently. The differences will be what separate your business from the competition, and you’ll want your business to stand out.

Influencing business owners to learn more about what their competition is doing and then helping them strategize against those competitors are valuable CFO services.

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