Focusing on your competitors is dumb. Focus on your customers.

Every business I have started is in a highly competitive, low-barrier-to-entry industry.

(Note to the reader: If you have a business in a less competitive, high-barrier-to-entry industry and need some help, you know who to call.)

Anyone with a computer and an internet connection could start a business like mine—and many have. In fact, every day, my clients receive emails from my competitors pleading for a switch.

On top of that, there are no contracts.

We could be fired any day by any client, no questions asked.

My industry has thousands of direct competitors—businesses who do what we do.

Sometimes at the same price, sometimes for less, and sometimes they charge more.

My industry is not unique. No matter what business you are in, you have competitors.

It’s easy to get obsessed with everything your competition is doing. Wanting to replicate their every move.

It’s dumb to be obsessed with your competition.

Over the last 10 years of running my business, I have checked what my competitors are doing about once a year.

Why?

My competitors don’t matter as much as my customers do.

It’s my job to understand the needs of my clients and customers at a deeper level than anyone else in the industry…anyone else in the world.

I need to listen, assess their needs, and develop products and solutions tailored specifically for them. It’s my job to sell those solutions at a reasonable price—and a price that’s profitable for me as well.

It all starts with listening. It’s not that hard. It’s a matter of really hearing what someone has to say.

We adapt our strategies and products based on our findings—not because a competitor has changed something, but because our customers’ needs are evolving.

I am wholly indifferent to our competitors. Yes, they matter. I am not naive.

On occasion, I hear about something innovative a competitor is doing.

My first thought is one of annoyance. Why didn’t I think of that? But then, it turns into a question of execution.

How can we replicate that same product but make it 10 times better? What would we have to do? And, on top of that, how could we make it 50% cheaper?

That’s a theoretical exercise. In reality, we never achieve those exact results. But we try.
If we looked at what our competitors did all the time, we would become like them, but with an inferior product. An undifferentiated one. One that I would be embarrassed to provide or put my name on.

If you listen to your customers’ needs better than anyone else, you’ll beat your competition every day, every week, and every year.

In a world where everyone is busy watching each other, we keep our eyes on the prize: our customers. They are the true north of our compass. The rest is just noise.

Don’t focus on your competitors.

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What’s your experience? Do you see it differently? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Drop a comment below and hey, if you think it’s worth a share, pass it along to a friend.

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