One inevitable thing in business is competition. We’re all always in an unending cycle of competition: Be it competition for the best clients, market share, raw materials, best employees, etc. Since business goals are unending and the means are so limited, hence competition sets in. competition is just natural and could be the survival of the fittest. And as a matter of truth, competition would never go away. You could try avoiding it, deny it, or use it to your benefit.
The first thing I believe is the way to survive is to realize that there is competition. Come to terms with this reality. Some businesses or their management live in delusion, not accepting the reality that you are in a fierce fight. And when you are not conscious of the competition, you would (and can) not strive to succeed. Sadly, you become a casualty.
For instance, some recharge card vendors refuse to realize that they are in a fierce competition with the banks. If they still do nothing soon enough, they may lose customer, sales and get out of business.
So now we have come to the realization of the reality of competition, beyond surviving, how can one succeed amidst competition?
2. ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS
Be aware of your environment. Be aware of what is going on in your business, industry trend, nation, new legislation, and even international news should be of interest. Donald Trump wrote: “to win, you need to know where the other party is coming from….” This process of awareness helps realize who or whose you are up against in competition.
Who opened their business next to yours or within the same market? What product got introduced into the market? Is this introduction likely to affect your customers’ preference? How many similar product/services are you competing against? …etc. To win or stand a chance, you must be well informed. Knowledge is the power! The power you need is in what you know: what your competitor(s) know that you don’t, can put you at disadvantage.
Having adequate knowledge helps one decide in time whether or not he stands a chance or to take an alternative route. It’s good to mention that to succeed in a competition, you do not engage in every run.
Also, you need to identify your top contender and focus on them! Be alert; be aware of what is happening. Don’t be care free. Who is voted as the political leader or appointed can determine your woe or success. Get interested. It’s not just patriotic, but determines your chance of success in a competitive terrain as this.
3. TRAINING AND RETRAINING
The simple truth is that the one significant tool in the face of fierce competition is information: current and correct information. It is said, don’t stop learning because doesn’t stop teaching.
In this information age, and in a rapidly evolving world as this, with new trend on the increase, if you truly want to remain relevant, you need to be up-to-date. Remember lesson #2: whatever you do not know is capable of putting you in a disadvantaged position.
Lest you become obsolete, you need to invest in training; retraining, seminars, webinars, conferences, etc. upgrade your skill. Learn about the latest technology and be able to use it.
If there’s an easier, better or faster way of doing things in your industry, you simply have to be aware of it and be able to do it. That’s how you succeed in competition.
4. BE VERSATILE
You see, in today’s world, people are continuously looking for a one-stop-shop, multi-purpose devices, etc. The present trend supports for versatility. In becoming versatile, you got to be well informed on matters within and outside your field.
This is very different from being a jack of all trade, master of none. Let me make it clear. If you run a fashion business, should one give you some material, he/she expect to return and pick the cloth. No stories of “sorry the place I went to do embroidery didn’t open.” Likewise, most people would prefer a tailor who would get his, the wife’s and the kids’ cloths done. And not splitting it up for three different fashion designers. Are you getting the point?
My point? It is better to be versatile than narrow-minded.
5. FOLLOW THE TREND
In every industry, there are trends. Actually two kinds of trends: long term and short. While long term trends are the way your industry operate at certain time/cycles (e.g. every decade, 5 years or so) short term trends focuses on the recent happenings. Say in the last week, month or 6-12 months. To succeed in the competition, you need to be aware and take advantage of this information.
Do people now prefer service in a certain way? Are there recent slang, or vocabularies that are trending in your field? You need to be aware. Remember, if you are not up-to-date with what is happening, you may by so doing be shooting yourself in the feet.
6. MAKE FORECAST AND PREPARE FOR IT
If one properly studies the past, and understands the present, he can to a great extent predict the future. It’s like I’m repeating one point over again: the key to success in the face of competition is INFORMATION.
To survive in a competitive market, you need to think of what can happen in the near future and start planning for it.
Whatever your business, you would not go far nor do well if your analytical and prediction skills are poor. If you can’t predict what your competitor(s) is likely to do, how can you guard yourself? If your competitor is always a step ahead of you, what chance do you have?
Being able to predict the future comes from understanding the trend. It’s good to be optimistic, but being a realistic is better.
Remember, you succeed not by competing in every competition that presents itself but using each competition to your advantage.
Take home point: you must not only understand the trend but be able to predict future event(s) and prepare for it.
7. BE INNOVATIVE
Succeeding in the competition requires you to be creative, be novel. Create new approaches, design, formula, procedure, etc. This outstanding creation of yours would cause you to stand out amidst the competition.
Remember when cowbell came into the Nigeria market newly? This was their competition tool: they did what no other was doing. They packed milk in small sachets. Now, they are a leading brand….and of course others are copying. Whatever it is you are into, do it differently, make it new.
So long your creation is either helping your key player(s) get MORE RESULT/satisfaction, get FASTER RESULT, or get the result in a more EASY way; you are on your way to success.
When you have absolute control over something, you inferably have no competition. There are at least two way of creating this kind of control: patent and niche
We’ll look at PATENT: HAVING SOLE RIGHT TO SOMETHING.
In this case, it implies having sole right to the provision of goods/services. There are still virgin areas in some fields, other times you have to invent it.
The second way is by carving out your niche. NICHE: AN ENCLOSED ENVIRONMENT FOR WHICH A PERSON DOES PARTICULARLY WELL. You may not be able to fight everyone in the whole market. But you can carve out a portion of it and dominate there in. Cowbell did this – Creating a niche with low income earners by creating small sachet milk!
Are you getting the point? You do this by either creating something that only you can deliver or providing a general service to a particular group (or circumstance) that only you are reaching.
Now then, being fully armed with eight hardcore lessons, no competition should beat you….
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