As business owners, it is completely natural to think about what the competition is doing. At the end of the day, you want your business to be successful , so keeping one step ahead of your competitors seems essential.

But is it?

Keep your eyes on the prize

It goes without saying that it is useful to know what the competition is doing – much of what we learn from others can shape the way we do things, either to avoid replication or else to gain the advantage over a service or a product.

However, sometimes we might find ourselves focussing more on what our competitors are doing and less on what we WANT to do. Often we end up thinking about what we should be doing as opposed to what we really WANT to do! It’s so easy to get caught up in someone else’s vision without even realising it.

In this confusion we misplace the fact that you may have a greater, better idea that gets lost in the noise of wondering why your competitors haven’t done it instead of being the first to get it out to market!

Are you missing out on opportunities? Are you sticking to what is familiar and being accomplished by others when it’s very likely that taking a risk that hasn’t been considered by your competitors may actually end up being a breakthrough?

What’s right for your company may not be right for them

Is it right for you?

Whatever your idea, don’t dismiss it without considering whether it’s right for your company and maybe your competitors haven’t considered it because it doesn’t fit with their strategy, and vice versa. Are you paying too much attention to the competition? Is it hindering your business? Are you making decisions that might work for someone else, but not necessarily for you?

Often, comparing ourselves to others is not helpful – what are we comparing ourselves against? What is our USP? Your USP is likely to be completely different to your competitors. It’s what makes you stand out. So can comparing make any sense?

What do you stand for? What are your unique strengths? Like your USP, these will not be comparable to your competitors and in comparing yourself against them you may miss something you weren’t looking for.

So, then question changes from: “How well are our competitors doing?” to “What are we really good at?” and “What do we want to achieve?” Often we focus on the wrong questions and this gets us nowhere.

Focus on the right things

So let’s focus on the right things.

What makes you shine? This may be more helpful.

I think it about being:

Bold

Courageous

Brave

It may be more helpful to think about how you can outsmart your competitors, but also how you can find the courage to be you! This will in itself liberate you, your business and get you focussing on what makes you shine.