You have two choices when it comes to how you handle your competition. Keep chasing your tail and lose focus on your goals by always looking in the rear view mirror to ensure the competition is well behind you or you can embrace the competitors and use them as a benchmark where you need to improve or adjust your own inner game.
Not everyone is your competition. The true competitors are the ones who are on the same playing field as you. If you are trying to compete with those who lack integrity in their work – let them go. Don’t get caught up in the game of chasing down everyone in your industry. Your competition will show themselves when they are playing on the same level as you. If you see a perceived competitor who is stealing your work or imitating your success, realize they are not a threat; rather they are simply lacking the creativity to show their own work to the world. Those who steal never succeed. They are not your competition because you would never sink to their standard of “excellence”.
Your competition is a reflection of the values and service you bring to the table. Embrace the competition by re-framing your thoughts about the term “competition”. See the competition as a positive. Acknowledge their great work but always keep your focus on how you wish to serve your clients.
I have two pieces of advice that have served me well in my own corporate existence.
Never take your foot off the snake.
One of my favorite former NHL coaches, Ron Wilson, had a saying about competition, “Never take your foot off the snake” What it means is always keep your competition under your watch. To use the same theme in business, we can be attentive to business moves of our competitors. Check out their presence online, listen to your client’s feedback about the competition. However, with this observation as your intelligence you can always be sure to know what your competition is doing but never base your moves on what their strategy or tactics. There is no win or success found in keeping up with the Jones. Follow your path and set the trend for your clients. You want to be the leader not be the follower of others.
See Something Say Something….
You may feel the need to speak publicly when you see a competitor who is out right lying or stealing. Don’t do it. People will remember the bearer of the bad press more so than they will remember the news. Why would you want to sink down to throwing stones on others when you can take the energy to up your own game? The value proposition you have will speak louder than their negativity.
Let your work speak for you, in the end, most can tell who is real and who is not in your industry.
Remember the marketplace has room for all – not everyone is same and you can set yourself apart by co-existing with your competition in a positive manner. No one can take your secret sauce that is what you bring the table. There is a market for you as much as there is a market for your competition. It’s a big world even in your own neck of the woods where your business resides. You have to believe that you can all co-exist in a friendly, positive way. Keep the focus on your game and let the competition know you have your foot on a strong foundation that will not allow the snakes to take you off your game.