The competitive element in business plays a crucial part in how a company is run. As with sport, this element is a primary driving force, but one that needs to be aligned with the values of the brand…
Sportsmanship can rightly be defined as ‘when the competitive element within an individual is subject to a sense of fair-play’. When winning becomes more important than fair-play, fairness itself becomes subject to the competitive element, and the principle of sportsmanship is compromised.
It is the same in business. The desire to win over competition in business is a legitimate driving force, but it should never be the focus. This competitive element should drive us to greater performance, and fuel efforts at improving our business initiatives, but never to the detriment of the brand values.
A competitor can rightly be defined as ‘a person or entity which is a rival in the same industry (or a similar industry) offering a similar product or service to your own’. The presence of one or more of these competitors can reduce the prices of the goods and services in an attempt to gain a larger market share, and this directly affects every aspect of competitor conduct. In a competitive environment, the pressure to deliver ongoing consistency for smaller businesses is severe, and new competition inevitably requires companies to become more efficient in their efforts to reduce costs and maximise profitability.
It is these two areas that need attention, and for many businesses, it is the make or break. This is where a company’s brand needs re-enforcing so that it can maintain delivery of its core promise without compromising the brand values. This is why the focus cannot be on beating the competition, but rather on emulating whatever success they have through careful market research. Winning is a by-product of successful principles working together to achieve an end goal, not the goal in itself. If the proper individual business principles are well researched and properly implemented, the success will inevitably follow; but each must serve the whole, and not compromise the brand values or promises.
If a business is clever enough to identify a profitable opportunity, it can be guaranteed that competition isn’t far behind. Eventually someone will find a way to do the same thing faster, cheaper and perhaps even better. The best protection against this is to build a loyal following before this happens, remembering that successful brand loyalty will primarily be determined by the business’s own loyalty to its core brand values and promises.