In a world where others' successes are constantly pushed in your face through social media, it's easy to lose sight of what’s important. We often spend our days agonizing over what the competition is up to, especially when we’re feeling insecure or uncertain about our own efforts.
However, this type of behavior can be harmful and counterproductive, and in this article, we’ll explore why. You’ll learn how comparing ruins your business, how to deal with competitors, and the steps you need to take to improve your focus. Read on for more!
How Comparing Ruins Your Business
It's a natural tendency to compare ourselves to others; we often do it without realizing it. In some cases, this is harmless and even helpful - for example, if we're trying to determine how we measure up to someone else that has accomplished what we want to do.
However, when it comes to business, constantly comparing ourselves to others can be incredibly harmful. Here's why:
It can lead to feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.
Comparing our business to others can make us feel like we're not good enough.
We may start to doubt our abilities and question whether we're doing things the right way. This can be extremely discouraging and demoralizing, leading to a lack of confidence in our work. You might end up quitting your company; creating your 1099s and stopping your freelance career; or generally just start thinking of yourself as inadequate.
It can create an unhealthy competitive mindset.
When we're always comparing our business to others, it can cause us to become fiercely competitive. Competition isn’t bad in and of itself - but in the extreme case, this may lead us to start seeing everyone else as rivals, and making us think we have to do whatever we can to outshine them.
In reality, many ‘competitive’ businesses can make great allies, or even partners. Thinking negatively about your competition can lead to an unhealthy mindset and rivalry.
It can lead to envy and resentment.
Comparing our business to others can make us feel envious of their success. We may start to resent them for being "better" than us. This can create negative feelings and cause tension in our relationships with other businesses.
You lose focus and forget what you’re supposed to do.
When you’re constantly checking up on what your competition is doing, you can get easily sidetracked and spend more time worrying about them than working on your own business. This can lead to a lot of wasted time and energy, as well as (obviously) lower productivity.
How to Deal with Competitors
It is important to remember that you cannot control what your competitors do, but you can control how you react and how you run your own business. What follows are six tips to help you drill deep into your business and focus on you instead of the competition:
1. Stay informed, but don't obsess.
It is important to know what your competition is doing and what strategies they are using, but don't spend all of your time tracking their every move. Obsessing over the competition can lead to frustration and can actually hinder your ability to think creatively and come up with your own strategies.
2. Embrace healthy competition.
Healthy competition can be a good thing for your business. It can push you to work harder and come up with better ideas. When you view your competition as a challenge, it can improve your ability to stay motivated and focused. However, make sure you know your limit - if you start obsessing rather than merely competing, take a step back.
3. Focus on your strengths.
Don't try to compete with your competition on their turf. Instead, focus on what makes you unique and capitalize on your strengths. When you do this, you will be more successful in the long run.
4. Keep your cool.
The best way to deal with competitors is to keep your cool. Don't get emotional and start bashing them in public or on social media. This will only make you look bad and give them more ammunition. Instead, use their presence as motivation to work harder and stay ahead of the curve.
5. Stay innovative.
In order to stay ahead of the competition, it's important for businesses to focus on innovation. This means coming up with new products and services, as well as improving upon what you currently offer. When you're constantly looking to improve, you'll stay ahead of the competition, which will keep customers coming back.
6. Take care of your employees.
If you're constantly focused on the competition, you're going to have a hard time retaining your best employees. They'll be tempted to leave for a company that's more focused on them.
Make sure you offer them competitive salaries and benefits, and give them the opportunity to grow their careers. Also, remember to prepare W-2s for your team so they can file their taxes properly.
Conclusion: Mind Your Business
Many small businesses make the mistake of focusing on their competition, rather than concentrating on their own business. This can be a fatal error, as it can lead to wasted time and energy, and can ultimately cause any business to fail.
Instead of focusing on the competition, businesses should focus on their own strengths and weaknesses. They should identify what makes them unique, and find ways to capitalize on this.
Ultimately, businesses should remember that they are not in competition with their competitors, they are in competition with themselves. By focusing on their own business and improving it, they will be more successful in the long run.