In SpyFu’s early days, we talked about crushing your competition. We missed the point. Competition is good, and strong competitors elevate each other.
In last night’s Olympic event, the men’s 1500m speed skating race, Norwegian skater Allan Dahl Johansson crashed into the boards during his 2-man heat.
Though the crash spared his competitor, Koen Verweij, Verweij took a different kind of hit. This world-class speed skater completed his laps at a slower time than what he had been pacing with a competitor on the track.
He had no one to push him.
Sure, some business people aim to eliminate their competition. We know that’s not realistic or even ideal for most businesses, though.
With competitors to push them, businesses are taking bigger risks. They’re crafting smarter plans. They’re innovating because there’s someone on their tail (or jusssst within their reach).
We love this.
Let’s celebrate competitors. If you’re not already in love with them, think about what you can gain.
Competitors Share their Best Tricks
The way we see it, your competition is unwittingly spilling their best business tips. They are leaving best practice trails behind, and you’re catching every breadcrumb.
They’re ideal teachers because they are competing with you. You’re going after the same audience. If they test an ad, you can learn from that test, too. The people who reacted to it are the same people you are aiming for.
Learning is better than reacting
It’s one thing to give a special offer because your competitors give a special offer. That’s reacting. Learning from your competitors tells you that you should track their offers and watch for patterns.
See which ones they use more often. Do they try discounts when business is slow? Do they do anything for existing customers, or is it all for new business?
Those lessons will help you tighten your own strategy. Instead of competing with a reaction game, you’ll be ahead of them because you learned from their tests.
Be Selfish in this Relationship
True love is a lot healthier than what we’re recommending here. As the saying goes, “All is fair in love and war.” Good thing your business competition is a blend of both.
Be selfish. You’re here to absorb as many lessons as you can. You are going to embrace the “take” in takeaways. To take better care of your business, it’s up to you to embrace your competition’s teachings at every turn.
Consider these ideas for inspiration:
Those last two ideas bring up an important point. Don’t just hunt for success. There are big lessons in failure. If a competitor completely drops an ad after having tried it for a stretch, treat that like the crowd of people turning around from a sold-out flower stand on Valentine’s Day.
You don’t have to take the time to try it yourself before realizing it’s not worth your time.