Whether you think of your competitors as enemies or colleagues, consider following them along their journey. If you’re a business owner, you should be up to date on all the current industry trends—local, national and worldwide! Learning from others is how we grow and there is a respectful way to keep an eye on your competition in order to gain insight.
Look at your competition through the eyes of a neutral consumer. View their website, subscribe to their newsletter and follow them on social media. Where are the gaps in information, what is being overlooked? What are they spending the time to do that you aren’t? Perhaps they have a blog, is it active and informational? Notice what your business has in common, and what sets apart. Do you offer services that they do not? Do you excel in customer services or offer online payment? These are the things to highlight when telling clients how your business differs. Learn from what they are doing well and from what they are doing poorly.
Keeping your competition close can also result in referrals. If you are able to develop a positive relationship with your competitor you may realize you are seeking slightly different clients. Having this positive relationship also portrays you as a business owner who supports others, even in the same industry. In general, clients react negatively when in the presence of badmouthing other businesses and colleagues. Represent your business as a respectful and genuine community leader.
It is important to note, one should not become obsessed with tracking competitors. This is an opportunity for you to refine what you do best. Don’t lose your identity or copy exactly what others are doing. Become inspired, gain insight and if you’re going to obsess about anything—make it your clients!