I have a confession to make, I absolutely love competition.
I do. I love to compete.
Those of you who know me well are probably saying that statement is a gross understatement.
I grew up as a five-sport athlete, and both my parents are coaches. Sports and competition have always been part of my life. Competing in various sports as a kid was my background before I fell into running my own business.
In business, when you’re trying to sell something you learn a lot. Like how to handle rejection and how to not take the first ‘no’ as the end of the conversation.
You face a lot of setbacks, and you have to keep pushing yourself to grow. My career path has given me an environment full of endless competition to challenge me.
And if you don’t have any competition, you won’t be challenged. And if you’re not challenged, you’re not going to change. Without change, you won’t grow.
Don’t fear your business competition.
One of the greatest tools a business can look at when trying to grow or become better is looking at their competition.
Examine them. Learn about them. Listen to them. Research their website, their product, and their business strategy. It’s a missed opportunity to be afraid and ignore your competitors in your industry.
When I first started out in payment processing, I would constantly read up on what other bigger companies were doing. Keeping up on their technology was vital to improve my own sales pitch and knowledge to support our clients.
But as a small, newly formed company, it was also intimidating. You see what all these other companies are doing and wonder how can you ever compete? It can discourage you when you look at your competitors’ accomplishments.
I think it’s healthy to read and understand what your business industry is doing. By focusing on what your competitors or business partners are doing, you can then really focus on what you should do or shouldn’t do.
In business, I really believe that you need to learn to use competition to make yourself better.
Competition in business keeps you motivated.
One of the reasons being in business in America is so great is because of the free market and competition.
For instance, taxi drivers pretty much had a monopoly a few years ago. All of a sudden Uber is invented, and now they’ve got to step up. Because of Uber, taxi drivers had to start building their own app to keep up. That boost in quality was the result of the taxi market being exposed to competition. Competition is good for everyone. It’s good for industries, good for customers, and it makes you better.
Comparing yourself to your competition is difficult, but it makes you stronger. Taking an honest look at your weakness is not easy, but it’s better to find your shortcomings and work to fix them, rather than just letting them drag you down. Your competition can help you do this.
Keep in mind, your competition might not be doing everything right. Look and see what’s working for them, and what’s not working, then measure your own shortcomings, and seek to improve. Use your competition as a buffer, but not the gospel.
Remember the lesson, not the disappointment.
One of the hardest aspects for people who are not competitive is fixating on their failures, and never moving past them.
The best wisdom comes from remembering what’s being taught in the lesson, and not focusing on the disappointment.
It’s easier said than done, and I’ve struggled with this in the past. But I’ve gone farther in my life and career when I didn’t focus on the disappointment, but rather the learning experience it brought.
Don’t remember disappointment, remember how to make yourself better for next time.
When we started out, so much of our competitive fuel came from people that had screwed us and taken advantage of us. We wanted payback. We wanted revenge. To be fully transparent, I wanted to put them out of business, and some of them we did.
If my only fixation was on the pain of being hurt by others, I would have never been able to move forward and improve our business. By remembering where we fell short, and by concentrating on the lesson learned, my business partners and I were able to overcome the stress of people who had lied and cheated us. Plus you reap what you sow.
Peyton Manning once admitted that he wasn’t a runner. He knew he wasn’t a super mobile guy, or a fast sprinter. He had to figure out what he was good at. And by figuring that out, he was going to win the game of football.
The same words from Peyton Manning can be said for your business.
You need to be honest and evaluate yourself.
- What are you good at?
- What are you not good at?
- Who is your competition?
- What’s your game plan?
- How are you going to attack it and make adjustments as you need to?
You have to be competitive in business.
Think of competition as a blessing in disguise because it’s giving you a reflection to evaluate yourself that might not be there otherwise.
So many people never face challenges head on, because they’re worried about what someone else is going to do. People that fear competition are the mindset of “Why try? They’ll beat me anyway.”
Instead of doing that, look at what you can do to beat them. Try things like choosing a certain niche’ or vertical, that you can excel in. This creates value for what you’re selling and helps you better compete against your competition.
In order to be competitive in business, you’ll want to pay close attention to the wisdom from Peyton Manning. Don’t try to make yourself something you’re not. He wasn’t going to be fast, no matter what he did. Instead, he found success by working on what he was already good at, so he could then be great. He worked on his football skills of understanding a defense, becoming an accurate passer, and being a great leader. For that, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll be a Hall of Famer because of it.
How about you? Is your legacy to be as competitive as you can, to become better at serving your clients and customers, and possibly enter into a hall-of-fame mindset, like Peyton Manning?
Are you pursuing your own path of improvement by learning about your competition, so you can make your business excellent? Or are you ignoring the elephant in the room, and settling for status quo?