Before I tell you how I deal with my competitors, let me explain who my fiercest competition is…
I’m my own toughest competitor. I don’t consider myself competing against anyone out there, I’m competing against me. I’m competing against the high standards I set for myself and my businesses, and that is what drives me. I’m constantly driven to improve, and to best myself.
You might be wondering “But what about the external competition? The businesses that actually compete with you?” To be honest I simply ignore them. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not advocating arrogance. Nor am I suggesting you shouldn’t know what’s going on in the market. What I’m saying is that you should focus on being the best you can possibly be, and work on providing outstanding value and service to your clients, that it becomes irrelevant what the competition does.
For years I owned a kickboxing school, and in a short time grew it into the largest in the country. Every other week or so I’d here something negative another school was saying about me. My reaction? Nothing. I’d be the best martial arts instructor I could be. I focused on teaching the best education-based curriculum I could, and I used unique and innovative marketing to attract the type of student I wanted. Honestly, who cares what other instructors thought?
I think about a year and half back, another weight loss service provider advertised on lampposts right outside the DreamBody Centre (DBC), back when we were still in Hamala. It was a blatant attempt to get our members. What did we do in response? Nothing. We continued to focus on providing amazing experiences to our members, and just ignored them. I have no time for petty marketing tactics. We’re busy with constantly improving ourselves and working towards our big goals and targets. We don’t have time for silliness.
Another competitor went even further. They sent two of their staff to pose as potential members. They asked lots of questions and took photos of our forms and price sheet. We were flattered, but then we got on with business. We did not retaliate, we just moved on.
It also happens from time to time that one of our members will bad mouth the competition, saying how much better we are. We smile politely but do not participate. As a matter of policy, we do not bad-mouth anyone. We believe everyone should be treated with dignity and respect – even those that hate us. Bad-mouthing and negative talk is for petty people.
We try as much as possible to pursue a Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS). One of the tenants of BOS is “not to out-perform the competition in the existing industry, but to create new market space or a blue ocean, thereby making the competition irrelevant.” I cannot claim that we’ve made our competition irrelevant yet, but we’re moving in the right direction.
If you want to succeed, and grow your business by several multiples, start competing against yourself. Set high standards and lofty targets, and pursue them obsessively. Once you’ve achieved them, set new ones, and keep going. Your standards should be so high, and your targets so challenging, that it becomes irrelevant what the competition does. And if they call you arrogant along the way, then so be it. The more successful you are, the more criticism will come your way, consider it a sign of success and a badge of honour.
Now go forth and conquer my friend.