The phrase "know your competition" often comes with feelings of anxiety. Most small business owners didn't begin operations hoping to get in a cut throat competition. Yet there really is a healthy aspect of learning more about your competition:
1) Competitive cost control (reasonable market value)
This is something you might want to talk to your banker about. They have a great database of local companies that will give you a great idea of what your competitors are charging for their products or services. Additionally, you can find some financial breakdowns by finding your NAICS Code and searching comparative industries.
2) Learning from best-practices (adopting new ideas)
This is the tough one. Nobody with a high sense of honor or integrity wants to outright steal anyone's ideas, and that's not what we're promoting here. Adopting new ideas doesn't have to be a copy-cats game, but instead can spark new ideas for your company's operations or goals. Adopting doesn't mean stealing exactly the same strategies as your peers, but making their better ways your own.
3) Learning what to avoid (from other's mistakes)
In the last blog post we talked about growing too quickly, or reckless expansion. Often, by gauging your peers, you can objectively observe a growth pattern that's reasonable for your industry.
4) Collaborative relationships (so you can give referrals to clients you can't, or don't want to work with)
Competitors don't always have to be relationships hedged with the "keep your enemies closer" mentality. At FIVE:thirty, we believe that business should feel good, and what's not to love about working collaboratively with others in your industry? When you find a client you know isn't right for your skill set or timeline, why not have a competitor you can refer them to? Often, working relationships with those in your direct line of expertise can result in lifelong, beneficial affiliations. We've been witness to several competing firms end up creating workshops, organizations, or networks unifying and supporting the entire profession.
Peer review doesn't have to be a bristly subject. Savvy business owners know how to use competition to their advantage, rather than consistently be on the defense.
If you're looking for a new professional partnership to help you navigate your industry's competition, consider getting in touch with us. #ConsultingWithCare means finding collaborative solutions to a fast paced, competitive world!