It won’t help your business…it’s killing it.
I know the temptation.
I have been there — many times, guilty as charged.
It all starts so innocently, you have an idea for a new business or product. So the first thing you do is Google it. Find out if it already exists — guess what, it probably does. Bummer :(. But that’s Ok, it is actually very unusual not to have ANY competitors.
By the way if you find out you don’t have ANY competition — you should probably be worried. Why? Well, there is probably a reason WHY competition doesn’t exist — Think About It.
Anyhow let’s not get sidetracked. So, you Google your competition, you start taking notes, checking prices, specifications, special offers, etc, etc. There is no harm in that, it’s important to know your competitive space.
Write it down, absorb it, learn from it and then STOP.
But it’s so hard to stop
I know. I really really do. “What if they are better than me”, “look their prices are cheaper”, “they have a new offer”, “I should follow their lead”, “they have so many customers they must be doing it right”.
I have been there, I have thought — “wow I need to do what they are doing, I want to be like them”. It’s a depressing feeling too, thinking that you are always one step behind everyone else.
But here’s the problem.
1. It will kill your business.
Because it stifles the one thing that all businesses need to thrive:
Business are birthed and grow by innovation, it doesn’t matter what industry you compete in, if you don’t innovate — sooner or later you will cease to exist as a business.
As the founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, says:
“You should learn from your competitor, but never copy. Copy and you die.”
Most start-ups fail — not because they were choked by the competition. But because they didn’t quite fit the market. Guess what? You don’t figure out your product/market fit by checking out the competition.
Here’s another reason you should stop.
2. It KILLS your own vision.
You end up thinking that you must offer something similar to the competition, but slightly different. Guess what you have just gone and done?
Defined yourself by your competition.
It’s a loser’s game folks.
And one more for the road…
3. They are probably lying anyway!
Why is it, that deep down we know not to trust anything on the internet. We know this is a lawless place — the wild west on steroids. But when it comes to reading your competitor’s website you believe everything you read? WOW they have like 10,000 customers — those guys must be awesome, I bet they have tested everything — lets copy!
WAKE UP. The internet is full of liars — don’t believe everything you read.
So you want to build an amazing disruptive business.
What to do?
Here’s the answer to Competitor Stalking
If you took all the time you spent stalking those competitors and spent it talking to your CUSTOMERS you might actually learn something new — something truthful, something worth defining your business by.
You might actually be innovative, you might cause a disruption in your industry, you might become AMAZING.
It sounds simple doesn’t it? Our problem is often we don’t like simple answers.
Start focusing on your customer and when I say focus, what I mean is OBSESS, like you did with that crush you had in high school. Know their every desire and need. But unlike your first crush — the way to do right by your customer is TALKING and LISTENING to them!
In the words of my favourite entrepreneur, Richard Branson:
“To launch a business means successfully solving problems. Solving problems means listening.”
So if you happen to become one of our customers at WP Hero — our awesome WordPress and Woo commerce support and management service. Don’t be alarmed if we ask you how we’re doing or what your greatest needs are. It’s how we learn. And it’s how we are learning to learn.
NB. This blog was first published on Medium in the Mark Growth publication.
Share This Post