All business owners talk about their competition. They do it incessantly, as though it is a major focus of their business. But it’s not a focus at all really. It’s little more than a distraction.
It’s smart to be aware of our surroundings, so we can dodge and weave as necessary to stay out of harm’s way or get ahead. But focusing on your competition will not help you do either. In fact, one of the few things it will do is keep you from doing the important work of focusing on your own brand. And that distraction has a trickle-down effect if you have employees. When they hear you talk about what a competitor is doing, they spend time on your competition, which is time not spent on you.
Competitors may inspire you because you are playing in the same field, thinking in the same sphere, so paying attention to what they inspire in you is good. Inspiration is a powerful tool, but that’s usually not where following competitors leads people to train their energies. Instead, we see red, get fearful, perhaps jealous, and lose focus.
Making your competitor a major focus takes you away from investing in your strengths and instead makes people focus on weaknesses. In business, losing that focus on the positive can be toxic, giving you the feeling of always being one step behind, or pursuing initiatives your business wouldn’t naturally follow just to gain a sense of staying ahead.
A better place to train your energy is on your own brand, on your product or service, and on your own marketing. The focus is not your competition—it’s you. Who are you focusing on?
Kelly Hobkirk - teaching marketers how to harness strategy, goals, reality, and purpose to connect and do better work.
Kelly Hobkirk has been helping companies succeed in creative ways for nearly 25 years. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, and books by Rockport and Rotovision. Get exclusive articles when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.