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Help! The competition is killing me!

This is heard by businesspeople everywhere. There are problems closing deals, getting the attention of new prospects or simply trying to keep customers loyal. Often heard is, “The competition is killing me. My business is harder than ever before.”

There are the two types of competition in the market. First is from outside competitors. These are easy to spot. They have similar products, services, value or customer experiences—basically offering what you offer. They serve the same markets you serve and repetitively they show up on a prospect short list in the sales process.

In this environment, businesspeople are concerned with what the other company is doing. Time and energy are spent analyzing the competitive products, services, features and functions, selling strategies, marketing programs, pricing, production investments, customer lists, value delivery systems and customer experiences. In short, businesspeople spend time and energy studying competitive attributes that they have no control over.

Our experience has shown that most businesses don’t often have a keen and accurate understanding of their costs, their markets, their customers and value. They’re “making it up as they go along,” often just as you may be doing. So, following and doing what a competitor is doing may not be the best strategy for the business.

Make a commitment to concentrate on improving your business, not trying to beat the competition by the rules that they have established. Create your own new value and rules to discover new opportunity that beats the competition.

The second competitor comes from within. Don’t ever underestimate the momentum of the status quo and traditional thinking. All organizations unfortunately think that what made them successful in the past is going to make them successful in the future. The landscape of business is littered with failure built on this thinking.

Business a usual doesn’t cut it any more. Gone are the days where the past marketing and sales methods, customer management processes and experiences and pricing and delivery models continue to work. Businesses must focus on fine-tuning each component of the business to find new value-add and profitability.

Competition from within is under your control. You can break down barriers between organizations, improve products and services, delivery models, pricing methods, channels, marketing, sales and customer experiences. You can improve productivity and production methods to drive down cost for new profitability and marketplace advantage.

Paying close attention to the business and removing obstacles to new revenue and profitability success pays dividends far beyond what is gained by watching the competition. Also, paying attention to what you can control is the difference between making good things happen and hoping that good things happen. Execution to successful outcomes brings greater opportunity and profitability than watching and hoping everything works out.

So, how do you do this?

Learn about new ways of doing business. Find and solicit advice on how to improve the business and drive new opportunity. Observe business leaders that predictably create success. Make strategic investments in the business that can predictably and sustainably pay off. Don’t be afraid to jettison “sacred cow” processes, models, products, services and customer experiences that hold back the business.

Recognize the difference between competition you can control (your company) and those that you can’t control (your marketplace competitors). Spend your time, energy, effort, and investment on your business and put the rest out of your mind. You don’t need the distraction and it is costing you money.

Start today by identifying the top three challenges that you need to solve. Instead of ‘learning’ from your competitors about how to solve them, look internally and take the steps you know you need to take to solve them. Don’t let history or the status quo stand in your way. Instead, look to industry ‘best practices’ and short-term strategic/tactical expertise, with an outside perspective, to validate and drive new advantage to your business.

Net, net? Become the leader in your market and watch the competition react to you! The market, prospects and customers will reward you for it.

The Afterburner Group has been helping companies in the technology, energy, services, manufacturing and non-profit industries beat their competitors for over 25 years.

If you think that your competitors are killing you and you want to stop it, fill out the contact form below and we’ll let you know what that looks like and how you’ll benefit.

Be more competitive.

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