How to contend with competitors
August 31, 2012
Throughout every aspect of a business' life cycle, there will always be competition. Startups have to contend with larger, often more reputable corporations selling similar products, on top of other small companies. Most recently, internet shopping has taken the market by storm, producing yet another batch of merchandisers that owners have to struggle against to win over consumers.
However, there are certain things entrepreneurs can do to make their product shine, while keeping from bad mouthing another business, owner or product, which will inevitably make the startup look bad. These leaders can take the entrepreneurial advice from those who have been successful in these ventures, and begin to see some growth in their own companies.
Decide who is direct competition
In order to focus your marketing and selling strategies, small business leaders should first recognize who their direct competition is. This may not include large conglomerates. For example, a small startup that is creating localized computer programs would most likely not list Microsoft as a direct competitor, thought the same may not be said about a similar company with a dozen employees a mile down the road.
Small Business Trends reported leaders should try to garner as much information about like companies as they can in order to plan their tactics. They should then create a list of strengths and weaknesses for the other company, and see what their own firms can offer to fill any voids or offer any services that niche customers are looking for. This makes the business unique and establishes them as thought leaders, without stepping on any toes or threatening reputations.
Don't burn bridges
Even the slightest unsavory comment within the walls of your own store regarding another company can lead to a large problem if it gets out to the public or back to the other owner. Leaders need to be careful about the way they speak about those in their field, and always be respectful.
Entrepreneur Magazine explained speaking badly about competitors, even in retaliation to a comment they made, can make an owner seem petty and make the other business look good in comparison. The source did note that if an entrepreneur honestly believes buying from another firm would be detrimental, however, that must be communicated carefully.
Even if they are competitors now, other leaders may be worthwhile resources, and even business partners, down the road.