When running a business there are two big groups of people you need to build some kind of relationship with. Numerous and vitally important, your customers are the first group. You need to establish a relationship with them so they trust you and choose you to spend their money with.
The other group is fewer in number but they possess far more resources than any individual customer and your relationship with them is going to be complicated by definition. They’re your competitors, others in the niche as you, competing for a share of the same market and you need to set your response to them.
Today we’re taking a look at the kind of relationship you can build with (or against) your competitors to try and ensure your survival in crowded marketplace.
Don’t Tread on Each Other’s Toes
The most important thing to remember is that you need to carve out your own space. Not just geographically (two hair salons or toy shops next door to each other will cannibalise each’s market quite naturally) but also in terms of time. Launching a new product, a big marketing campaign or a sale could be a big opportunity for your business, but if you pull the trigger at the same time as another business, you force your customers to choose and you won’t be able to reap all those rewards.
Just witness the jostling for position that blockbuster films do as Hollywood sorts out its summer release schedule. Every potentially big movie in the summer tries to carve out it’s own release weekend to give it the best chance to accrue revenue for the studio.
Market research companies can get you competitive intelligence – to give you insight into what your rivals may be planning and set your schedules to avoid their own big launches.
For all that you’re competing for the same resources, you should remember that this gives you something in common as well as setting you apart. Running a business can be isolating process, and your fellow founders and CEOs are the only people who can quite understand stress you might be under. Being able to set aside competition to talk with them in social situations could be a valuable release valve, as well as a way to build your professional network so try not to see them all as ‘the enemy’.