You’re on top of the world, your customers love you and you’re making a solid profit, but suddenly a competitor appears.
No matter what field of business you’re in, things inexorably change once you’re competing against someone else.
However, rather than viewing it merely as a battle, see it more as a chance for improvement. Unless what you do is especially niche, there are always going to be challengers to your company, but there are many reasons why this is a good thing.
Admittedly, it can be hard to better yourself if there is no aim as such; there is no reason to fight if there’s no competition.
Well, for the same reason that a top athlete would continuously train hard, someone just as good as you is normally right around the corner.
A competitor is often a wake-up call for your company, one that is unwelcome of course, but necessary.
Provides chance for innovation
Whilst no one is going to recommend straight-up stealing, it’s still possible to be inspired by your competitor’s ideas and methods.
It might be hard to stomach at first, but they may well take aspects of what you do, but do it ten times better.
However, this is also your opportunity to adapt and make improvements of your own.
Perhaps you were thinking of expanding a product range, introducing a new service, or phasing out something you never liked anyway; competition is a great incentive to ensure you follow this through with the highest possible quality.
Should the scenario arise where you’re forced to evaluate your own company once an adversary enters the fray, you might actually be surprised at how easy it is to analyse the competition via online methods. Understanding the best SEO and SEA data, producing up-to-date content, and posting relevant and interesting social media updates are just some ways covered in a comprehensive blog post by 1&1 to monitor the opposition.
This way, you’re able to keep track of your rival’s activities basically as soon as they happen, and discover marketing approaches that you may never have thought of yourself.
Improves customer relations
You might think “So what if competition has arrived, I’ll always have my loyal customers.” Perhaps, perhaps not.
Make one false move and you could find that people aren’t always so devoted once they find a newer and better alternative.
A disgruntled customer, slow service, bad communication, these things may not have concerned you greatly in the past, but if the times are changing, then you’ll have to change with it.
>See also: How businesses can re-engineer innovation
“Going that extra mile” may be a phrase that every retail worker is forced to learn upon starting a new job, but it’s advice worth taking to heart for everyone in business.
Consumer surveys have shown that 91% of people don’t come back to you if the first encounter wasn’t a pleasant experience – just one of many points explained here on the art of customer loyalty.
Identifies strengths and weaknesses
Are Apple and Samsung smartphones just the same? Are Adidas and Nike shoes similar? Do all BMW and Mercedes cars look alike?
To some, these statements may very well be true, but to many, small things matter.
People can get attached to a brand for any particular reason, so make sure to keep doing whatever your loyal customers like about you. In the same way that your website needs to stand out, being adaptable and flexible to meet your customers’ needs is key to staying alive when competition is fierce.
Are your hours unsuitable? Prices too high? Not enough people to handle the amount of work?
When opposition surfaces, you’re quickly going to find out what your company is lacking and why customers may switch sides so suddenly.
Conversely, you may have been in the game a lot longer than your sudden new challenger, so look at your pros just as much as the cons, and build on these points.
In general, big businesses don’t get to where they are by a breezy red carpet walk; there are bound to be scrappy battles to be fought in any field you might be in.
Nevertheless, not many business rivalries are going to be as ugly as something like Uber vs. Lyft, in which both lift services have been accused of dirty tactics (like offering bonuses to employees for convincing a driver to switch sides).
However, if you’ve got what it takes to survive, this test of competition will make your company stronger in the end.