Steps to Management Success – Step 12: Know Thy Competitor

Written By Rick Frishman Published March 30th, 2010


Know Thy Competitor

Having competitors is not a bad thing. Their very existence proves that there is a market for your products or services. And while you may be inclined to view them as the enemy, they are also a potentially invaluable learning tool—as they can help you answer this critical question: what is it about your competitors’ organizations that enable them to have any advantage over you in the marketplace?

WHAT IT MEANS: Identify and observe your competition in order to learn from their strengths and weaknesses. Observe how they run their business. Look for aspects of their business that you could adapt and those that could be improved. You can do this in all sorts of ways—by reading industry news, going to trade shows, visiting competitors’ Web sites, speaking to sales reps and customers, ordering company profiles, et cetera, but never lose sight of your competition. P.S.: Learning from your competitors’ mistakes can be amazingly cost-effective!

ACTION PLAN: Know who your top three competitors are. Identify three things that they are doing better than you are. Be honest. Now start to focus on ways your business might start to close the gap.

EVEN BETTER: When on the lookout for best practices to emulate, consider companies that are not in your exact business category. For example, banks may learn from brokerage firms or real estate companies, while retailers of books can lean from those who sell music.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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