Identify your competitors. Then ignore them.

Identify your competitors. Then ignore them.

In business, especially in marketing, it’s important to identify your competitors. You need to know who they are; what they’re doing; and how you compare to them. But then, for most of the time, you should forget about them.

Running your business should be like driving a car

I compare this to driving a car. When you’re driving you’re focused on where you’re going and the path in front of you. You’re looking for signs in the road and dangers in front and directly around you. But what you’re not doing is constantly monitoring the competing cars driving along with you. Sure, you might check around you if you’re merging or changing direction, but the cars around you aren’t the focus of your attention. It should be the same with your business.

Pay attention to your destination and the route to get there

Constantly watching the car next to you or around you will certainly end in disaster. You’ll venture off course or worse you’ll crash. The same is true for your business. Once you know where things stand with the competition and you’ve devised a plan to get to where you want to go - you should ignore your competitors - only checking on them periodically to make sure you don’t run into them.

Too often we have to convince small business owners that it’s counter productive to monitor their competitors closely or continuously. It ends up tainting their plans as they start to react to what “others” are doing instead of charting their own course and working their own plan. Like I said, it’s OK to check on the competition occasionally, but don’t let it become an obsession or a distraction.

Follow your plan and drive your own success

So the next time you’re tempted to change direction based on what you’ve observed your competitors doing - remember, you’re ignoring them. Instead, continue on your path and adjust course only if they get in your way. After all you want to avoid collisions. But don’t keep checking your rear view mirror; keep your eyes forward on the road ahead. It will take you where you want to go.

Jan 25, 2014

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