from Enterpreneur.com 11/09 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
Business is War and the Competition is the enemy–right? No, wrong! Though competition is a fundamental aspect of being in business, savvy Entrepreneurs know that viewing competitors exclusively as adversaries is shortsighted & potentially damaging. A better strategy is to build alliances with your competitors and let them help you become better and stronger. Here’s how:
Know who your Competitors are. This sounds so basic, but it’s a mistake many Founders & business Owners make. If you have a product, your competitors are obviously others who sell similar products (both online and brick-&-mortar). But that’s not all. You’re also competing with the businesses that are meeting the needs of your customers with products and services you don’t offer and haven’t thought about offering, and the businesses that might make your products obsolete. You need to know who all your competitors are–not just the obvious ones, but the ones “flying under the radar” as well.
Find out everything you can about the Competition. Don’t get blind-sided; pay attention to anything your competitors do. Set up intelligence files for each competitor. Look for articles about them in trade journals, newspapers and magazines. Study their websites. Use programs like Google Alerts to track what’s said about them online. If possible and practical, shop them secretly on a regular basis to observe their operations firsthand. Do a Google search on them or your product periodically (ie, monthly)
Develop Relationships with your Competitors. Once you’ve researched your competitors, reach out to them. Doesn’t that sound radical? Join industry & business networking associations so you get to know the people who own and work for, competing companies as individuals. You never know where those relationships might lead.
Be prepared to Cooperate & Collaborate – when necessary. If something is going to have a strongly positive or negative impact on your industry, reach out to your competitors, so you can join forces and take appropriate action. For example, you may want to unite to oppose or endorse pending legislation that could affect your companies. Depending on your particular business, you may also find that competitors can serve as backup resources.
[ Examples of Cooperate & Collaborate, getting Better, Not competing on $$ and more in Premium Content ]