Competition may seem like a bad thing, but once you take a closer look, you will see that it is possible to not only appreciate what your competitors are doing, but to actually learn from them. Instead of making all the mistakes yourself, see what others are doing and pick up some tips from them. You’ll save your business time and money doing so.

It’s a given that your business is not the only one out there in its niche. Instead of looking at the competition as a bad thing, however, why not learn to use them as inspiration for growth? You can learn a lot from what your competitors are doing, if you know what to look for.

Rather than get stressed out by the fact that other people are offering similar products or services, take advantage of it. Tap their knowledge and you can offer your clients even more.

The first thing to do is identify your competitors. Make a list of all the companies that are potentially taking your clients and then start to pay attention to the ones that pose the most threat . . . these will also offer the most opportunities.

Watch Their Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes in business; it’s part of the learning process. However, you don’t have to make the same mistakes that your competition is making if you pay attention.

What mistakes is the other company making? How is it alienating customers or losing money? In other words, what could you do better than the other business? If you’re not sure, you don’t have to guess at the mistakes being made.

The Internet gives you a unique advantage these days. It’s very easy to go online and find reviews of businesses, including those that are in direct competition with you. Consumers will tell you exactly what they don’t like about the other companies on your list. All you need to do is make sure that you don’t make those same mistakes.

In order to avoid the same errors, you will need a plan. Write down how you will avoid the issues that plague the other companies and you can stop the problems before they even begin.

Take Note of Success

Do you have a competitor that is doing far better than you? It’s the perfect opportunity to learn from the experts. The same technique as above, checking online reviews, can give you some insight as to why the company is doing so well.

There are so many areas to keep an eye on, but here are a few of the top things to watch in your competitors:

  • When and how they hold sales
  • Which promotional offers they run
  • Where they are advertising
  • Which keywords they use
  • Their use of social media and online resources for promotion
  • Location, interior decorating and packaging
  • How they generate repeat customers
  • What they do to upsell

By analysing those that are closest to your level in your niche, it will soon become obvious what they are doing that you aren’t. Maybe they interact more with their clients, or perhaps they have a better location.

Don’t Become a Copycat

It’s easy to decide to emulate every move that a successful business makes, but this would be a mistake. You can’t do exactly as someone else and expect it to work . . . being unique is key in business. So, when you see a great technique, don’t just copy it; make it your own.

A good example of this would be if you see a company offering a free consultation with the purchase of their main product. You could offer the same thing, but clients will just see two companies with the exact same bonus. Instead, you might want to offer a gift certificate or a free secondary product with the purchase of your main product. Tailor the idea to match your customers’ needs and come up with your own twist to make it original. That’s what will catch people’s attention and help you rise to the top.

Change Your Mindset

One of the biggest problems business owners face is being able to set aside the need to conquer their territory and to simply observe. Don’t get stuck on the fact that you aren’t number one or that someone else is closing in on your position in the market.

You will need to put your competitive spirit away for a while and pay attention to what other companies are doing. Why make all the mistakes yourself? The shortcut to making it big is simply to open your eyes and observe, yet this is something that most business owners have a tough time doing. If you can master the skill of watching, then by putting what you learn into action, you will go far.