Keeping ahead of the competition

What would you do if you’ve been operating in a market without a competitor, and then one appears? Do you ignore it, suggest tie-ups, share expertise, or wage all out war?

Competition is healthy

First off, take the view that ‘competition is healthy’…two companies can make more noise than one and having a competitor may even expand the size of your market, bringing in more business for you.

A fine start: But how do you respond to the new kid on the block?

Make love, not war

Think if there’s a way you can embrace each other. Is there stuff you can do together? This doesn’t have to be a full scale marriage between your two businesses – maybe just a case of swapping content, sharing contacts, or cross-promotion.

Define yourself

There is nothing more real to focus the mind than competition. Having someone else appear in your market will cause you to clearly define what you offer. Once you’ve identified the thing that makes you ‘unique’, then communicate this well.

Be smart

Keep your wits about you. Put yourself in the shoes of your competitor. If you were them, what would you do? Think about it and then out-smart them. Do something better. Not necessarily bigger, just better.

Enjoy it …but keep your eye on the customer

If you’ve been operating without competition, then a healthy dose of it could be a welcome wake-up call! It will have you springing out of bed in the morning, excited by the thought of how you can improve on yesterday.

Enjoy the experience of planning your strategy and sharing this with close and trusted friends and co-workers; but don’t get so caught up in the competition that you forget about the customer. Remember, they now have somewhere else they can go!


Photo credit: Ren Norman

Emma Jones

Emma Jones is Founder and Editor of Enterprise Nation, the home business website. She has successfully started two businesses from home offices in London, Manchester and rural Shropshire.Following a career with an international accountancy firm, Emma started her first home based business at the age of 27 and successfully sold it just 15 months after launch.Redbrick Enterprises Ltd was founded in 2002 to advise the public sector on effective homeworking. Spotting a gap in the market to provide information and inspiration to homeworkers, Emma launched Enterprise Nation [], the home business website, in January 2006.The website is a free resource for people starting and growing a business at home and has a readership of more than 390,000 people. As well as site content, there is also a free fortnightly e-newsletter and podcast.Emma’s first book on how to start a business from home Spare Room Start Up: How to Start a Business from Home will be published by Harriman House in May 2008.

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