Competition is everywhere. There is no escaping it. Let’s face it.
In colleges and universities across the globe, business professors, and textbook authors make sure the idea is stress that knowing your competition is critical to your company’s success. Being a part of the small business and entrepreneurship industry, from the inside looking around, it seems as if the majority of budding businesses are on pins and needles. Why? Because the brains behind the businesses are laser-focused on what their competitors are storming up instead of their own plans for action and execution. This is where the problem lies.
The authenticity is being sucked right out of branding and marketing. The excitement of innovation is lackluster and losing. Check for yourself. For example, there are thousands of women-owned branding coaches and everyone’s message and imagery is the same. And the business with the best looking Instagram page gets the client. Substance is scarce and suspicion is high.
As a new and rising professional, I understand the premise of knowing who your competition is, what they do, how they do it and how it all affects you; but as an observant millennial who is tired of seeing repetition in the marketplace, I’ve come up with three reasons why studying the competition is good until it becomes an obsession.
Imitation is not flattery, it’s fakery.
The beauty of life is that no two people are exactly alike. While they can seem to be on the surface, on the inside, every part of ovary person’s body flows and functions differently. That should translate over to the business world. Doing it just as someone else has is not the move. It shows a lack of preparedness and a lack of passion. Oprah didn’t get to be Oprah by being Diane Sawyer. She became Oprah by being Oprah. And the people fell in love with her for it.
Putting too much energy looking out at them, takes away from the time you could use looking in at yourself.
Come on now, being true to why you are and what you do well or not so well has nothing to do with them, but everything to do with you. Consider your studying efforts to be a mirror first and a window second. See what they do and do it better.
There is a fine line between studying and stalking.
Trust me, people know when they are being copied. Why do you think patents, copyrights, and trademarks exist? Don’t let the competition catch you biting their style, it won’t be a good look for you. The last thing you want your audience to do is to say “Oh, they’re just doing what _____ is doing.” Don’t be that person known for lurking on other people’s websites and social media pages stealing their ideas, watching what they are doing, yet never reaching out just to say “Hello.”
Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s. Use your research time to discover your areas of opportunity and growth, not to stay being an onlooker never jumping in the game.
Collaboration opportunities manifest when you stop competing with others.
Take inventory of the world around you. So many big named brands are teaming up with social media influencers and people are joining forces to expand their reach. This is intentional. In most cases, two heads are better than one, so why not maximize your reach?
Collaborating with others allows you to tag team with another business mind to bring something new to your individual audiences. Your audience becomes theirs and theirs becomes yours. You’d tap into a group of people you may not have ever had access to before. Think on the positive side. More exposure has the possibility of catapulting you where you desire to be in your perspective niche. That’s a win!
Gone are the days of “staying in your lane,” Truth be told, the highway is yours if you know how to own it. But develop your own path to do so. Studying is studious and stalking is set up for failure. It’s not too late to change up how you’re going about it. There is a select market of consumers waiting to be introduced to the true you. Don’t keep them waiting.