The Value of Competition

I have shared before my belief that if you have no competition you have no market. Competition makes us smarter in everything we do. We get better as we are challenged and if we are willing, as we watch others react to ideas or influences in the environment.

Environmental impacts are happening everyday with every new thought, work around or impact. Everything impacts the market from ideas to investigations to innovations in parallel markets.

Just looking at a market affects the status actually, your focus group has started water cooler conversations, your test documents or interface gets others thinking.

Competition is not always another company but an idea. A recent product I built impacted my other consulting work as the teams moved from a concept and framework to online tool that captured everything their collaboration changed.

Now ideas were captured, some slowed down on sharing, others stuffed the idea box to get noticed. Open sharing became a liability and political tool. The effects are just now beginning to soften however the cultural impact has a legacy. Introducing new ideas changes the market if only for a moment.

Your competitor could show the market a new prototype that sucks or rocks, that will affect you if you are also picking or if you are the current vendor. How are you built to respond? Are you snapping your head to change? Are you ready to fast follow?

New competitors are an opportunity to respond and deepen your conversations with your current customers. To many time I see the sales knee jerk to “they saw this and we need that!” Wrong it is time to sit again with your customer and in context uncover what they found interesting or valuable. Large companies think they can lead a market and often leave room for an agile sharp firm to innovate and create new intimacy with your market. Do not be afraid of that intimacy, embrace it! Few Do!

Tim Bates