The building blocks of entrepreneurship: Taking on the competition

During one of my mentor sessions this week, a client arrived at my office in a fluster. She was seriously concerned about what she saw as the poor practices of a competitor – angry that the competitor had gained an advantage over her on price by selling inferior products which produce inferior results.

Being undercut by less scrupulous competitors is a challenge virtually every business owner will face, and it is certainly something I have come against in each business I have owned or managed. Clearly it is important to keep a close eye on those you are up against – how, otherwise, can you improve? – but it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of becoming anxious, fearful and consumed by how your competition is faring. The real test is how an entrepreneur rises to the challenge of someone attempting to steal his or her business.

There are a number of proactive steps you should take to address this:

  • Concentrate on what you do well – there is no point trying to shadow your competitors. Your USP is what makes your business successful.
  • Brainstorm all the positive reasons why a client should choose you over them – you might come up with arguments you had never previously considered!
  • Make those reasons part of your marketing – it’s not enough to be the best, you have to shout about it.
  • Educate your staff on those reasons – they should be as well-versed in the strengths of the business as you, and be able to tell that story effectively.
  • Educate your client professionally – not by being negative about your competitor, but by focusing on your proven record of delivering.
  • Concentrate on being even better at what you do – there is always room for improvement. The most successful entrepreneurs are looking for ways to push the boundaries every single day.

Seeing a competitor park their tanks on your lawn can be a daunting prospect, but remember that professionalism, quality and your hard-earned reputation will outlast shoddy work every time.