With the Olympics coming up there is an emphasis on competing; the best in the world striving to be the best outdoing the other “bests”. This along with a Seth Godin blog got me thinking about competition in business.

When I teach target marketing, I suggest analyzing how you are the same and how you are different than your competitors.  There is, however, a caveat; just because your competition is doing it doesn’t mean you should.  First of all, they aren’t buying from you, your customers are and second who says what they are doing is the best.  It may be ordinary and did you go into business to be mediocre?

Let’s get back to why you went into business; you thought you had a unique approach to a service or provided a unique product that others didn’t have.  Well, they may have had it but not as good as you, right?  Then you found yourself in the game of “if they have that I can have that and go one better”!  Whoa, Nelly!!! (Don’t ask where that came from :-).  What happened to the path you were following?

I have a client who is a florist and unfortunately, the store is near a large supermarket chain store that they compete with during the holidays.  Instead of competing on pricing and never winning the florist partnered with other local stores giving out joint coupons.  For every plant or bunch of flowers, the customer received discounts for food, perfume, cigars, lingerie, and etc.  Each of the other businesses did similar coupons including the flowers. Now for a special occasion, you could give a gorgeous floral arrangement and throw in a ½ price massage or some other discount.

The moral to this story; the only one you need to compete with is you and your business as you strive to be better for your target market.  This takes you back to SWOT analysis but that’s for another day. Remember why you are in business and your goals and you set the bar others will want to reach, but of course you will keep raising it.