Comparing Yourself to Competitors: The Dos and Don’ts
You’re in business, you’re in competition with a whole host of other companies, and you’re all vying for the attention of the same (or similar) audiences – why wouldn’t you compare yourself to them? Well, the circumstances around you might be very different to what they’re working with, and that might make these comparisons either unnecessary or uninformative. If there’s nothing to be gained, then why bother?
However, it might not always be this way, which can muddy the waters substantially. That’s okay, though, it just means that you have to get a sense as to when these comparisons might be worth your time, and when you’re better off spending this time focusing on your development.
Don’t – Business Sizes
The biggest pitfall to be aware of here is that the size of businesses can distort comparisons right out of the gate. If you’re a newcomer to the fast food industry, for example, it makes no sense to be dismayed at your profits compared to companies like McDonald’s. However, the difficulty here arises from visibility. You might have a good awareness of who your more realistic competitors are, but the most famous ones are often the most successful, which can mean that your attention is locked on them whether you like it or not. At that point, it becomes a matter of being aware of this, and refocusing it back on your targets.
Do – Available Technology
An area where you do have some control, however, is in the available technology that pertains to your industry. Even if the largest names in your field are substantially bigger than you are, it’s worth at least investigating how the tools they’re using would affect your operations and if they’re financially viable. IFS cloud systems can make managing your operations substantially more efficient, for example, and if you’re in the manufacturing game, 3D printers might overhaul your structure entirely. There are possibilities here, and looking to competitors can illuminate them.
Don’t – Approaches and USPs
Sometimes, looking at how another company in your field does something can get confusing because you’re not aware of it represents a standard approach that you should be following, or something more unique to them. If the way that they interact with their audiences on social media, for example, has a unique tone of voice, you can’t just go ahead and copy that, as it won’t fit your image and people will notice the shift. Your personality and approach are something that you have to cultivate for yourself.
Do – A Better Way
It might be, though, that what they’re doing isn’t unique to them – it just represents a potentially superior way of going about something that you hadn’t clued in on yet. Following in their footsteps here might not amount to copying so much as it does altering your course of action to follow a more successful route. It’s a difficult distinction to make, though, as it’s not always clear what audiences would perceive as derivative.