If You Want To Kill Your Competition Then You May As Well Kill Your Goals

Competition

Why do you want to kill your competition (this is a generic you)?

Why do you want to put on your size 42 boots, kick them in the sack and then trample them into the dirt?

Why do you want them to fail so badly that the only people left they can come to is you? Is your alternative really that much better?

Maybe.

But if it is, then isn’t it the competition that’s helped make you so much better? If not, why not? If the competition is who we want/need to be better than, then why aren’t we using them to improve ourselves?

This doesn’t just need to be about business, either. Your competition can be other bloggers; other poetry writers; other breadmakers; others that are after your objects of desire.

Anything that is after the same thing you’re after is competition. It could be a lot, or it could be miniscule – but either way, it’s all good. Because you watch, and learn.

What decision lost a business customers? What blog post got a slew of criticism? What bread became staler first, and why?

Learn why the things your competitors are doing are backfiring, and adjust your approach to benefit those left in the dust. And you don’t even have to lace up your kicking boots to do this.

Don’t hate others for doing things wrong; make them hate you for doing things right.

image: Jordan.A.

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Comments

  1. says

    Very true, if it wasn’t for Google+ how many new features would Facebook have churned out in such a small space of time? Without competition the world would be a boring place with a real lack of motivation to succeed. How can you succeed if you have nothing to succeed against?

  2. markwschaefer says

    Bill Gates once famously said that if Apple had not existed he would have to invent them. I have a slightly nuanced take on competition. The sum of my experiences is my competitive advantage and there is only one me. So in essence, I have no competitors. If I just focus on applying those strengths to help customers, the business will take care of itself. Great post Danny.

    • says

      @markwschaefer Two great examples, mate – and who can argue with Gates? :)

      Completely agree that “we” are the differentiating factor – so why do so many businesses ignore that one simple yet powerful truth? Hey ho…

      Great to see you here, sir, been too long since we chatted – and yes, I owe you an email. 😉

  3. says

    Monopoly is always bad. I think we should allow two Governments to function in parallel and let them compete with each other for the welfare measures offered to the people. That way, certain Governments can’t sit and sleep. LOL.

    • says

      @Raj-PB The Goverment question is interesting – I’ve seen hung parliaments that are crap together, and then I’ve seen a majority vote be held to account by a strong opposition. So, yes, competition is key, but I think in politics it’s maybe better to be an “outside competitior” than an internal one?

  4. says

    Kind of morbid, and I can’t seem to find the exact quote I recently heard (maybe from Bill Gates?) but it said something about how when your biggest competition in business passes away, a little bit of you goes with it, because that was the only other person who truly understands your accomplishments. Even though they are your competitor, you still celebrate a little when they do something great.

  5. says

    Excellent tip for the young entrepreneurs and smb owners out there Danny.

    I can only speak from my own experiences, and I can tell you that competitive nature is in my blood, from the days I started tying sheetrock on the roof of cars at Home Depot. I live to crush the competition, at one point in the early stages of my tanning salon business I wore a shirt that said, “Who’s Next?” on the back… with tomb stones of all the local competitors that we stomped out.

    I can go on and on, I’ve had competitors address my business in their advertising with some coy statement and turned around and put two billboards in their parking lot. Trust me, to say I fuel from competition doesn’t even put it into perspective.

    Now, with that said. I’m no fool. The many years of doing battle from Home Depot vs Lowes to my tanning salons v competitors, limousine business v others, etc. have taught me valuable lessons.

    1. Never forget that you should spend more time focusing on what you’re doing vs what your competitors are doing.

    2. Know the good that your competitors do and do it better.

    3. Know what your competitors do terrible and do it much better.

    4. Don’t play follow the leader, be the leader.

    5. Always take care of YOUR customers FIRST!

    Sorry for the massive comment, which can probably be considered a blog post at this point. I get easily excited when competition becomes the topic :)

    • says

      @ExtremeJohn Never apologize for length of comment, sir, especially one as laden with gold as yours! :)

      You prove the point perfectly, mate – competition clearly made you a better and stronger “foe’, and that resulted in success for you. Now why the heck would businesses want to miss that growth? 😉

  6. OpEdMarketing says

    I prefer the buzzword “co-petition”, as the boundaries between who is your friend and foes are diminishing. In fact, I’ve found that actually meeting, helping, and even promoting other marketing agencies has actually benefited us. One of my favourite quotes, courtesy of Robbie Burns: “Oh wad some power the giftie gie us, To see oursel’s as others see us! It wad frae monie a blunder free us, And foolish notion”

  7. says

    Not only should you not kill your competition but you should regularly be referring prospective customers their way when you are inept to do the job. That prospect will thank you for the referral and will tell all of her friends what a great guy you are.

  8. says

    Yes! My company is a web design and development firm. Competition is everywhere on all levels. Some of our competitors are more partners than enemies. Other competitors treat us like the enemy, but that’s OK. We look at all of our competition as a potential partner. Ultimately our goal is to help our clients achieve their goals. Sometimes we need to work with another firm or even refer the client to another firm so that they can help our clients where we can’t. To not work within the larger ecosystem that is your industry is just plain silly.

    • says

      @jonmikelbailey Hey there JM (hope you don’t mind me calling you that),

      The web design/development industry is a perfect example. Does a great design company that has mediocre SEO capabilities turn down a $100k project, because it would involve an awesome SEO house from a competing design company, but on that has far less creative skills?

      The web is a HUGE marketplace – so, is there such a thing as competition? 😉

      Cheers, sir!

  9. Mike Ashworth says

    I recall when I worked at Amex we often entered into partnerships with many of our “competition” many smaller businesses could also look to do similar

  10. says

    Well said, mate. Always bugs me to see people and businesses wasting time trying to eliminate competition which would be better spent delivering superior products and services. Current example? AT&T looking to spend US$39Bn to take over T-mobile in order to eliminate cost and customer service competition, instead of using that money to improve their own service.

    Mergers & Acquisitions are not innovation.

    • says

      @Brian Driggs Cheers, mate, and great example with AT&T. Buying a competitor does not make you better at customer service, like you say – it just adds more pissed off customers to your problems as the months go by and the new users see how crap you are.

  11. Mark Longbottom says

    Great post Danny, someone once refused my business card as we were competitors. I said I didn’t have any also I didn’t know there name and wasn’t aware of there social activity.

    My reply was that i don’t have competitors but i do look for colaborators. Simple really makes good sense letting them spread positive word of mouth as you can for them.

    • says

      @Mark Longbottom I like that approach mate – and there surely can’t be any coincidence that “competitors” and “collaborators” are so similar in pronunciation…

  12. Mark Longbottom says

    Great post Danny, someone once refused my business card as we were competitors. I said I didn’t have any also I didn’t know there name and wasn’t aware of there social activity.

    My reply was that i don’t have competitors but i do look for colaborators. Simple really makes good sense letting them spread positive word of mouth as you can for them.

  13. says

    Hi Danny,

    A wonderful post, and it’s got me thinking about competition in general. Sometimes, even our close friends and family can be viewed as competition, even though we still love them dearly.

    I believe, in a nutshell, that competition is exactly what we believe it to be. If we view another business as a rival, then they become that rival. If we view them as an ally, then they become that ally. Each business has a stained-glass window which is coloured by it’s ways of operating and thinking, and so this affects it’s relationships with everything else it encounters.

    Competition can make or break you – if you let it :-)

    • says

      @Stuart Mills Always reminds me of high school, mate, and the “fancying the same girl” syndrome. Substitute girl for customer, and guys for competitors. Now – how many guys eventually saw sense and realized there are many more girls to “go after” and find the right one for us all? 😉

  14. says

    Hi Danny

    Kick them in the what? Ouch.

    “Because you watch, and learn.”

    Exactly what we bloggers do.

    Bit by bit we get better by reading, visiting better blogs and listening to advice.

    Of course you have to think for yourself now and again.

    I’ve learnt from lots of guys out there… including you Danny.

    BTW – Keith Davis here with new business website.

    Would pay cash money for a comment from you Danny.

  15. says

    Really interesting thought, Danny. You’re right. By having a competitor we are able to differentiate ourselves, improve our product and/or service, and illustrate why we’re the superior choice. Besides, without a competitor, most businesses get complacent.

    • says

      @WordsDoneWrite You nailed it with the “complacent” word, Amber. Think of all the biggest computer game businesses (geek alert!) – Amstrad, SEGA, Commodore, Psygnosis – that aren’t around today. Why? They thought they couldn’t fail. Complacency is the business world’s biggest wake-up call.

      Or should be…

  16. says

    Many companies that have won their market significantly wind up disappearing. Circuit City was before Best Buy. Microsoft who? Blockbuster owned movie rentals. Woolworth discount stores. Sears Department Stores. AOL owned the internet.

    Without competition you also lose sight of what your reason for being in business is. You get fat and passive and arrogant and lazy. Maybe Vladmir Pution should read this comrade?

    Competition is healthy.

    • says

      @HowieSPM Ah, Howie mate – we think on the same wavelength, sir. I was thinking about 4 of the 5 companies you mentioned when writing this (seriously – the one I missed was Microsoft, as I think they’re still innovating and enjoying competition when it comes to video games).

      Funny how many of these brands lost their way so fast, huh?

      • says

        @DannyBrown I hesitated on Microsoft. They are a cash cow. Funny they have ubiquitous software but are known for XBox more than Windows now. They tried getting into mobile 10 years back. Shocked they are an also ran so far.

        My point with them is their name isn’t forefront. Intel has succeeded in dominating and surviving but they too are background in stature.

        • says

          @HowieSPM Microsoft is definitely intriguing. What I like about them is they took Sony on at their own game when it comes to video games (taking over an established leader) and kicked their ass.

          Then again, they also created Vista…

  17. geoffliving says

    Bad competition also does something else… Makes you look better and wins you business. It also helps build a need for better products, and grows the industry.

    In the end, competition should spur your business to innovate and create its own green field, its own unique offering that separates it from the pack. Toe to toe fist fights don’t do that.

    • says

      @geoffliving You know, that’s a good point, mate, and hadn’t even thought of that. And there sure are a lot of examples in the “social marketing” industry… 😉

      • geoffliving says

        @DannyBrown Happen to be working on the chapter about competition right now for the book with ginidietrich, so it was prescient. It’s too easy to fight over the existing table, when really we should be focused on building a new table for ourselves 😉 Innovation is always the best answer. Cheers, brother.

  18. fergusonsarah says

    I agree with you… Just focus on what you think is right and let them realized their mistakes. Thanks for this interesting article!

  19. says

    Very interesting post Danny. I like the ending “make them hate you for doing things right.”.

    A healthy competition always helps one in growing. A healthy competition and a sound competitor can even make you realize your true potential, your hidden qualities and strength.

  20. Firas Abo Assaf says

    Competition is one side of the coin the other one is opportunity (Joint Venture) Especially in the IM World… It depends on which side we are looking at :-)

  21. Danny Brown says

    Mike Exaxctly mate. Some of the best innovations have come from “competitors” working together – imagine no Mir space station of it was still the Cold War. 😉

  22. Danny Brown says

    Firas Great point, sir, and the JV world is one that’s becoming more prevalent. Got a post coming soon re. Collaborative Consumption, which I feel is going to be huge in 2012, and builds on the JV model. Cheers, sir!

  23. Mike Ashworth says

    even when amex and visa were having major disputes, senior people within the company were still talking to each other, keeping the back channels open, so to speak. JV’s were all the rage at amex, especially for new markets where ane existing company had a presence and we didnt but they wanted something from us, everyone won. except that is for the US Costco deal, but that’s another story……

  24. says

    I agree that competition makes your business better in the long run; at the same time, I feel it is only natural for a business to try to rid of its strongest competitors in legitimate ways. This is a philosophical question: are you trying to make more money and gain bigger market share OR are you trying to provide a better product to consumer and increase social value from your product?

    • says

      @swot I’d say the second – you don’t need to be the biggest, merely the best. Offer something that sets you apart, and you’ll build loyalty. I’m always wary of a limited marketplace as far as competition goes – it inhibits innovation as well as constant need to improve, and the end user always loses when that comes into play, sadly.

  25. angelaksgiles says

    I absolutely loved this article. It’s a reminder of how important competition is. In addition, it provides a more analytical way to look at our peers. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Angela Giles

  26. says

    Great message you have delivered via this blog. Competition is something which encourage you to go high and higher. Without competition there is no achievement and i totally agree with you that if you want to kill your competition then you may kill your goals too.

  27. says

    Forgive me for duplicating someone else’s comment here, but how refreshing is it to read this post!

    As marketers we have to stop looking at others so much, yes there is a place for competitive analysis and market return, but if you are always looking across the fence you and your clients will only get in a pissing war over outdoing old ideas.

    There is something to be said for good competition, it causes us to look at our systems and structure to see what we could be doing better. Contest, makes us look at others to see how we mesure up. It is easy to call yourself successful if the measuring stick is little or bad.

    Thanks again Danny.

  28. says

    This is a great perspective to have for many reasons. The way that I see it, if you don’t have any strong competition then it will not be very hard to succeed. However, eventually someone else will see the opportunity in your market and begin to push you. If you haven’t put the effort in to strengthen your position in the past then you’re playing catch up.

  29. says

    Hi there,

    I remember someone telling me, “Don’t ask God to remove all the struggles in your life, you need them.” I think the same thing applies to competition. We need it to grow and the moment we avoid it, is the moment we rob ourselves the chance to improve. If we can’t find anyone who is making money with our idea, then we really need to wonder if there is any money to be made there at all.

    Thanks for this Dan,

    Judy

  30. says

    It can go both ways, but in the end, you’re right. You do want competitors to help you be better. It’s the things they do that temporarily make you want to crush them forever (at least that’s how I’ve seen it work with me). 

  31. iwhendren says

    I think that you make some excellent points, since I feel that a lot of what people try to do is put people out of business by being better than them. Better to have the perspective of a lesser product around than be a hated monopoly.