Let’s face it we have all done it, that moment at a networking event when a similar business stands up with their elevator pitch and suddenly ours doesn’t feel good enough, and the panic sets in!  It recently happened to me on Twitter during #salisburyhour when another Virtual Assistant popped up to say hello and I had to remind myself why people do business with me .. that’s right they do business with me not LBB Business Solutions. 

man breaking a pencil
The Panic Sets In

 Why I think we should embrace the competition!

Firstly, I truly believe that competition is good, it makes us better at what we do and we can learn from others within our business sector.  Learn from them I hear you cry!  Well I happily share the good, the bad and the ugly when asked to do so and see this as business flattery.  When someone is willing to share I see this as a sign of a good business man or woman, someone who is confident in what they do and therefore happy to exchange with others.

Collaborating with your enemy!

I don’t think of my competitors as the enemy but potential partners or those that I might refer clients to … so you see getting to know my competitors is an important element of my business strategy.

With all the will and hours in the world we wouldn’t be able to take on every potential client that comes our way.  Equally we can’t convert every lead perhaps due to resource, their need not being our area of expertise or even that we don’t match personally; and this is why it is essential that I know my competitors and build relationships with them.  This doesn’t make me less desirable to the potential client, in fact I believe it shows me to be the expert that knows my competitors and can with confidence recommend them.  Believe me when I tell you that I am remembered for being knowledgeable and able to recommend with confidence, resulting in being recommended myself …so everyones a winner!

Get competitor wise!

So next time you meet one of your competitors don’t fear them but embrace them as it may present a potential collaborative opportunity or you may wish to add them to your list of suppliers for future reference and referral.

My top competitor tips!

1. Get to know them - be clear on what you both offer and where the differences lie so you might recommend and refer– this obviously has to be mutually beneficial and only when you are confident in referring to them (remember a bad recommendation reflects badly on you)!

2. Support one another – this works really well especially for sole traders and I can’t tell you how glad I am that I met Amanda Johnson of Your Executive Secretary who has become a great confidante!

3. Stay true to yourself and your business values - NEVER reduce your price to undercut the competition, if you can’t say anything nice … say nothing at all when asked about your competitor and NEVER doubt yourself.

Remember .... people do business with people, providing you are professional and carry out your business as set out in your core values there is no reason to fear the competition!   Each business is unique because we as business owners are unique, we work in different ways even when offering the same service.  I can’t reiterate enough that people do business with people and we won’t connect with everyone we meet so we need our competitors!

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