Why you need to ignore your competition

Yes, I am going to tell you why you need to ignore your competition.

I know many say you need to keep an eye on your competition. Watch them like a hawk and all that.

ignore your competition

I say don’t.

I recently received a blank look when I told someone that I don’t consider myself as having competition.

And no, I am not nuts, nor delusional.

Basically, no one can be ME better than I can. {click to tweet}

Here’s why you need to ignore your competition NOW.

Keep an open mind. If your competition is bugging you right now then you are probably in need of a mindset tweak.

1. Watching your competition is killing your creativity

Yes, the more you look at what your competition is doing the more you’ll question your own genius.

You run the risk of imitating what they are doing because you think that’s what you think you should be doing.

Then you fall prey to being a bland version of your competition with a cloudy message.

TIP! Dance like no one is watching or sing like you are in the shower!
Focus on what you are doing by answering these simple questions:

  1. What part of your personality are you injecting into your business?
  2. What’s your special somethin’ that no one else can offer?

2. Your competition’s goals (and resources) could be totally different

Everyone has a different agenda. Unless your competition is exactly the same as you (which they can’t be) your goals and resources WILL be different.

Comparing your solopreneur business with the activties of branch of a huge company will only set you up for failure.

You can never compete on that level.

What if your competition happens to be a trust fund baby and is running their business for sh*ts and giggles?

Their business goals are probably not aligned with yours.

3. You are wasting precious time worrying about your competitors

Every minute you spend researching your competition is taking you away from your goal.

In addition it probably gets you all riled up and throws you through a loop of different emotions – which are probably not positive which means MORE wasted time.

And guess what? They probably don’t care half as much about you.

4. Ok, your competition charges more/less than you.

And?

Unless you are selling the exact same product or service this should not be your concern.

Compete on VALUE, not on price. {click to tweet}

And maybe raise your prices?

So that’s it, ignore your competition!

Work on building something great, something utterly irresistible and totally YOURS!

If you need help finding what makes you different to your competition get in touch.

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34 Responses to Why you need to ignore your competition

  1. I have to laugh, I literally just read a blog post about a month ago that said to pay close attention to my competition.
    I spent two weeks doing just about everything you said not to, and it had the exact results you talk about. I can honestly say I gained nothing from it, all it did was fill me with doubt and second guess.
    And it wasted a bunch of precious time.
    Thanks so much for this article – perfect timing!

    • Oh wow Destri! I feel bad now that I didn’t publish this sooner! Sorry that the advice you applied backfired – at least now you know what to do. Good luck and do keep me posted!

  2. The only time I looked at the competition was when I was trying to figure out if my desired narrow niche was already crowded. It turns out I’m either a visionary or a crazy woman, because no one else was doing it. Too early to know which one yet.

    I do plan to follow your advice and base everything on how my business goes.

    • Oooh! Tammy, I love some crazy 🙂 Keep me posted – but yes, it’s a good idea to look at what others are doing but do it sparingly and VERY infrequently. It’s usually better to borrow ideas from others in different niches!

  3. Hi Ameena,

    What you’re saying makes perfectly sense. I have been ignoring my competition, but it hasn’t been my intention. I have just been minding my own business. I know that if I was looking at my competition I would start questioning everything about my methods and business, and in the end, it would turn me into a nut 🙂

  4. Hi Ameena, Wow – GREAT post. I agree completely about it sucking time from your life. Now that I don’t think about competitors it makes me feel a lot freer. Wonderful advice.
    Thank you,
    Sarah

    • Hi Sarah, I thought you’d find this useful 🙂 Liberating yourself from the idea that you have to watch your competitors does free you up to focus on the most important person in your business; YOU!

  5. Hi Ameena,
    An original and intriguing post – and true! We’ve all got different goals, different personalities and different ways of putting it all together. As Sarah said, this is a liberating suggestion!
    What makes what you do special is what makes you you (and your intentions, practices etc 😉
    Thanks for this.
    Lori

  6. Nice post Ameena… Like you, I never get time to even think about my competitors, my focus is to steam ahead with my own business and give that my full attention. There will always be competiton and that’s healthy and keeps us on our toes. I have a unique selling point, self belief and gritty determination – keeps me going.
    Always enjoy your communications.

    Midge

  7. Ameena,

    As usual, you have provided something to think about. I understand where you are coming from with this post, because every successful business will have it’s own unique selling point to set it apart from its’ competitors, thereby reducing the impact of competition on your business. However, I have an alternative point of view about competitors. I look upon my competitors as an ideas resource.

    No one has a mortgage on new ideas or industry knowledge. I regularly check out my competitors’ websites, marketing strategies and business reports to see if they are using concepts or tactics that I can effectively incorporate into my own business strategy. Competitors can supply (probably unwillingly, if truth be known) some great ideas that can contribute in a very positive way to keeping your business strategy fresh and relevant to the marketplace.

    graham

    • Hi Graham,

      Have you been peeking at my editorial calendar?? Yes, you are right – checking out what the competition are up to can really help us up our game – BUT you do have to be in a position where you are clear on your goals and have the ability to analyse and process without questioning yourself.

      I’d say this would actually fall into the category of businesses owners who have a lot of experience (or very thick skin)!

      I often look at other marketers online and think “really?” “hmm..” and if I’m really lucky, I’ll say “Cool idea, I can add my secret sauce to that!”
      It’s a two way thing – I see a lot of people “borrowing” my ideas and that’s cool – I don’t own my concepts as you rightly said.

      Thank you so much for adding a great angle to this conversation – I know many have appreciated your input!

  8. Hello Ameena

    The image looks so cool in its context. Others before me have said it, but let me just add my voice in with theirs…. I just love the way you think! I can so identify with what you have outlined here. Very good advise. I wonder how the business school graduates would react to such talk!!

    I can appreciate what Graham is saying, but what I hear you outlining here is authenticity.Which means that you have to haul out the creative thinking cap and do the laps to stay unique and ahead. There is a company here in SA, which is driven by two innovative surface designers. They are trendsetters and naturally opened the door for followers to step through. The result they have competition. But, their attitude is that competition is welcome since it just keeps them striving to remain ahead of the crowd.

    • Hi Rose! Thanks!!

      I remember when I was doing my masters in marketing I was always told that you need to study the competition, analyse, monitor etc … fact is, if you follow all the rules you are taught in university you’d just get a job because you’d be plunged into analysis paralysis and never start a business.

      I like your example of the company in SA – you are so right – if you blaze a trail you do invite competition, it’s a choice whether or not you take it on board as positive or a negative!

  9. Ameena,
    What a fantastic post. When I watch the competition too closely I end up feeling down. It’s the same with picking up Cosmo on the grocery line. I think, “What’s the point?”
    Thank you for giving me all these great reasons to feel better by ignoring the competition!

  10. Hi Ameena,

    Challenging conventional wisdom in a saturated market place is how we progress and stand apart – so I like your approach.

    A few years ago I met a guy running a business format franchise operation and when I asked him about the competition he said “when we’re in a race we take the mirrors off”.

    At the time I thought this was a bit maverick and risky but as I experience more and having read your piece here it makes sense.

    As Rose says, Business school graduates would probably disagree but when (if at all) was the last time the lecturers delivering the message they’ve just been indoctrinated to actually conducted or managed real business?

    I’m with Graham as well – in that keeping a loose eye on the competition can help with ideas.

    But more importantly I would add that your time would be better spent looking at what your potential customers are up to and look for opportunities to help them in your own unique way.

    Cheers,
    Alex

    • Hi Adam,

      You make a really valid point – my professors had never worked in industry in their lives – they were book smart – they learnt all the theories and pushed them down our throats – as I said to Rose, had I actually applied what I’d learnt, I’d have never started my own business. Ever.

      And yes, looking at what your potential customers are up to is a much more valuable use of time that sitting there comparing who’s business is bigger/more sparkly etc …

      Love the line “where we’re in a race we take the mirrors off” that is GOLD and so important to remember.

      To ditching the mirrors! 🙂

  11. Ameena,

    First, if I didn’t fear the “whip” I would probably spend a little more time checking out what is happening in and around the industry…

    Honestly? I would have to say “dead on!” We, Pioneer Outfitters has no competition. Not out of arrogance, do I say that, but really, I have yet to meet one that offers what Pioneer Outfitters do.

    Mostly, the time I spend online “checking anything out” is spent to see how. To learn how this fabulous technology works and how to have it work in a way that is as close to human-interaction as it can be made.

    More than anything else, my time is spent finding and learning better ways to put into words to convey a feeling, a picture; of Pioneer Outfitters, as a business and individuals that make up that business.

    I absolutely LOVE this pic!! The girls, LOL. Really. You are so incredibly talented and I am so lucky to know you!

  12. Love competing for value, and not price. I wish all my customers thought that though : – But in that line’s defense, you certainly can win people over through value, if you’re conveying the message clearly. The others, well, they’re just cheap! lol !! Blunt but true.

    First time on your blog. I like reading insightful stuff so I’m sure I’ll be back 🙂

  13. Thanks for posting this!

    This just put my mind at ease.

    I live in a creative world where everyone thinks we are racing against each other, but its so refreshing to hear that the more I listen to the competition the harder it is to be true to myself.

    Thanks for this great post!

  14. I loved this article1 Especially your first point about killing your creativity I totally agree. One question I have though is this: Do you think that what competitors are doing in the industry and city you are in develops certain expectations for potential clients?

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