Competition – It is no big secret that we are going to have competition all of our life. Whether it be personal competition or business competition, it is always going to be there. Competition is good for us because used correctly it can help us to become better at what we do, both personally and professionally. I know it sounds cliché’, but it is the truth if we use competition to our advantage.
I see good examples of people using competition to their advantage every single day. They make themselves and their businesses even better and gain the respect of their peers as industry leaders. A prime example is two Disc Jockey companies in the New York Metro area. These two companies are probably the most successful Disc Jockey companies in the area and are relative neighbors. Yet, not one company says anything, anywhere about the other company. The only thing you see on their blogs and postings throughout the internet is about their own company. Not one iota about the other guy or even any other competition. Both of these guys are well respected by myself, and well respected by the DJ and the wedding industry as a whole. To me, these two are great role models, simply because they are successful in what they are doing. So they must be doing something right. I recently had the opportunity to really take notice to that and it was an eye opener.
I also get the misfortune of witnessing some of the mistakes people make with regards to competition. One of the biggest mistakes I see is people using their own time to promote their competition. I am not talking about a Disc Jockey writing a raving review blog about the DJ company down the street. In fact, I am talking quite the opposite. People, using their time and energy to focus on the negative about their competition by writing crappy blogs, speaking negative things, posting pot shots on twitter or Facebook, and just plain and simple being negative and downright hurtful. It is sad, but an unfortunate reality.
Here is a neat concept. Instead of taking ANY valuable time out of your day to focus on or point out the negative of your competition, use every single moment of that hour, minute, and second to improve your business, get a new customer, or promote your business. Why focus even one second of your time on drawing any attention to your competition? ANY time you are focusing on something negative about your competition, you are missing out on an opportunity to get a new sale or improve something in your business life. During that fifteen minutes you spent writing a blog post and taking pot shots at your competitor, he was busy getting the sale from the same customer you could have been talking to. He also took some of that time to post some great pictures from a wedding he just did.
Meanwhile, you wasted time trying to put that person down or took a pot shot. Sure, what you did may get noticed, but at the end of the day, what did it really do for you? No one else will tell you, so I will. It did not make you look any better in your customer or your peer’s eyes. In fact, it made you look more like a bully that can’t focus on their own strong points. It also made at least one other person notice your competition and you did it all by yourself. You pointed them to your competition!!! You may not have even mentioned them by name, but your innuendos are there and everyone knows who you are talking about. Hell, you are probably giving all the hints in the world to do just that. You did not gain any respect, in fact you probably lost some respect of your peers and customers.
Momma always told me that if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t it. Later in life I learned something else very valuable. “Whatever you say about a person (competitor), will come back to you tenfold”. Say something good, it will come back 10 fold good to you. Say something bad and it will come back 10 fold bad. If you think about this, again it is cliché’, but probably very true. Be friendly and professional and extend that olive branch if the lines have already been crossed. But really, be positive, be happy, be professional, and you will not only gain the respect of your peers but also gain the respect of your customers. And who knows, you may also gain a good friend in the process. One of my biggest competitors in the DJ industry (when I had my own DJ business) is now one of my best friends and has been one of my best friends even when I was still performing. There were countless times when we bailed each other out, both professionally and personally.
Hey, I am just as guilty of this as everyone else and I realize I made the mistake. If you look at some of my previous postings, you will notice that all I did what take pot shots at the Knot and Wedding Wire. Looking back on it I can only say, what a waste of time. I am not even in the same league as those guys. To even waste my time talking/writing about that was stupid, when I could have been developing some new scripts that brides and vendors could use, or going after a new vendor to advertise on my site or improving my search engine rankings. That time is lost and I will never get it back. But no, I have to be dumb and waste that time by being negative and focusing on (and giving more attention to) my competition. So, this was a lesson learned.
I am not saying don’t pay any attention to your competitor, because any good business person always knows what his competitor is doing. But don’t waste any time on any negativity. Instead, use that time to get a new customer, improve your product, promote your business, do something positive that will make a positive impression of you and your business, or maybe even gain another best friend. It really does make for a happier and more successful life.