Myth #4: Competitors Hurt Us, They Don’t Help Us

Competitors are our enemy. They make our life more difficult. Business would be so much better if they’d all just go away.

It’s a funny thing about competitors. We may think we can’t live with them, but we really can’t live without them either. The human mind needs to have at least two options to make a comparison. Competitors give us that reference or yardstick — the measurement point that helps customers understand how to evaluate your product offerings. No matter what market you’re in, there is a competitive offering and your customers will use it to evaluate their choices. If you are in the highly unusual position of having a product with no direct competitors, you still have real competition — the status quo, or the way your customers do business today.

Understand how to use your competitors to your advantage. In a new market, find a way to make your competitors work for you — laying the groundwork and educating buyers on the need for a solution — so that you don’t need to make the investment to do it. Position your offerings to show off your competitive strengths. Use your competitors to help you define the market area where your offerings best fit.

If, after careful analysis of the competitive landscape, you can’t find a good competitive niche, perhaps your competitors are telling you something else. Consider whether or not it makes sense to maintain a continued presence in this market space in the long term.

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