• Why You Should Stop Worrying About Your Competitors

    Why You Should Stop Worrying About Your CompetitorsLast week I had a conference call with another author in the small business space. By all accounts, we are direct competitors. But you know what? Neither of us cares about that. Instead we’ve decided to work together on some projects that can be beneficial to both of us.

    I have always believed that there is plenty of business to go around. Not every client is a good fit for every business, and so my competitors may end up working with people who wouldn’t be a good match for me—and vice versa.

    We all have competitors and we can view them as the enemy, or embrace them and find mutually beneficial opportunities. In fact, I’m friends with many authors and business owners who play in the same sandbox as I do, and I’ve built many cherished friendships and alliances as a result.

    Develop Your Personal Best Instead

    Instead of worrying about competing with others, I’d rather compete with myself. I’ve always been my own biggest competitor. When I was a teenager I worked as a cashier at a hardware store. At the end of the day we would tally up the total number of transactions. I noticed other people’s numbers, but was far more interested in my own results—and worked hard to beat my own totals week after week. I did the same thing when I worked in a call center years later. I kept my focus on beating my own numbers each month. And now that I’ve been in business for ten years, I work to achieve bigger and better results in my own business each year.

    This is a lesson I recently attempted to teach my 7-year old. We went bowling for the first time and he got frustrated because he couldn’t beat my score (not that my score was impressive by any stretch, but to a kid it was over the moon). I explained to him that instead of worrying about beating me, he should focus on doing the best that he could do. And that the more he practiced, the better he would perform over time. I believe we should all teach our kids the importance of doing our personal best.

    What You Can Learn from Competitors

    I’m not suggesting that you should ignore competitors, but you can spend a lot less energy worrying about them. You should still keep an eye on what they’re doing because you can learn a lot from them, and paying attention can help you stay on top of your own game.

    Imagine what would happen if you stopped worrying about them and instead focused on improving your own performance? Or if you reached out to your competitors and invited them to co-promote something with you? Competitors can be your friends if you let them, and in the end your business can grow even bigger because of this slight shift in attitude.

    Filed Under: Small Business

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    About the Author: Stephanie Chandler is an author of nine books including Own Your Niche: Hype-Free Internet Marketing Tactics to Establish Authority in Your Field and Promote Your Service-Based Business and The Nonfiction Book Marketing Plan: Simple Strategies to Build Your Audience and Sell More Books. She is also founder and CEO of Authority Publishing, specializing in custom book publishing and social media marketing services, BusinessInfoGuide.com, a directory of resources for entrepreneurs, and the Nonfiction Authors Association, a marketing community for authors. She has been featured in Entrepreneur magazine, BusinessWeek, Inc.com, and Wired magazine, and she is a contributing blogger for Forbes. For author and speaker details, visit http://StephanieChandler.com. Subscribe to Stephanie Chandler's blog feed here.

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    1. Very practical advise. It helps small businesses work together instead of seeing each other as a threat. I appreciate your help

    2. Very inspiring post, Stephanie; in fact, competition is a form of collaboration, and in a competitive market, customers can benefit from the competition among producers (that leads to better services at the lowest price); but if we consider that any economic actor is potentially a niche producer, and that specific niches can emerge by exploting personal and creative approach in comparison (if not in contrast) with others, we can understand the importance of competition in guiding us discovering our unique way to success…

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