The online world is ever-changing, which is why we should consider ourselves as ‘forever students’ when it comes down to advancing our online business career. As young entrepreneurs, one of the best pieces of advice we’ve received came directly from a client (and now friend). She stated, simply, “Never take your eye off the ball or worry yourself over what everyone else is doing. There will always be others with more money and celebrity power than you. But you’re the only one in the world with your brain and creativity. Now you just have to find the power to execute.”
There are thousands of amazing ideas but none of them mean anything without your own type of brand and hustle. Any great idea requires digging deep into our last bit of energy reserves. You shouldn’t spend any time focusing on someone else’s idea(s) or success; this is inevitably where most budding businesses fail.
One of the best lessons learned (the hard way) is that there will always be competition. The sooner you accept this fact, the better! And the less of your precious energy you will waste eyeing the competition.
Yes, failure is a natural aspect of any success. However, you need the type of failure to achieve when you go all in and focus on your own business. Not on anyone else. Don’t lose sight of where your own idea can go or you will find that someone else will steal your great idea right out from under you.
Imagine this scenario: You have discovered a niche in a popular market that no other business has fulfilled, so you brainstorm a business idea that exploits it! After forming a team of your own and addressing the needs of your target audience, you find out that there’s another company that is doing the same thing as you.
After this revelation, you begin to fixate on your competition, track their new ventures, and attempt to guess their next moves, all of which makes you lose focus on your own. Slowly but surely, your business starts to lose its edge and business becomes much more challenging. You then begin to analyze the other company to remedy your situation, which causes you to further spiral down.
This happens far too often with far too many business owners. We think we have something unique to offer the world, but then become overwhelmed with information overload, focus on everything but our business and begin comparing our business to our competition.
The revolution of information is amazing, but not always a good thing. Just thirty years ago, you may never have known that someone else was implementing a similar idea. But in today’s online world, you will likely find multiple companies doing the same thing as you, perhaps even better than you are. As tempting as it is to focus on your competitors, you should never lose sight of what makes your business tick. And avoid comparing yourself to others at all costs.
How to tune into your business?
But, how can one prevent themselves from feeling insecure in what they’ve taken the time and energy to create? Below are our three favorite methods to take the focus off of other companies and tune into yours.
Use the success of others as motivation
It’s human nature - it’s enticing to focus more on other people’s successes and failures than taking the time to look at our own and see how we can improve.
On social media, the good things that happen in people’s lives is typically what’s highlighted. This means your competitors will post the great things happening in their company, which will naturally make you feel that your business isn’t doing as well. However, it’s very unlikely that their business has no hiccups.
To escape this trap, ignore your competitors’ posts. Remember that for every great post they have up, there’s a cluster of negative things that happen behind the scenes. So, focus on your business and be sure to celebrate your triumphs.
Learn from your competition
Is your competition doing great? Find how and why they are!
● How do they reach their target audience and customers?
● What type of feedback are they receiving?
● How could you do better?
● What could you be doing differently?
Don’t become anxious over the success of your competition - study them! You can learn from their shortcomings as much as you can learn from their prosperity. Competition is a good thing. Learning from other companies in your industry will give you an edge that can help you stand confidently right up there with your rivals.
There’s room for another player in the same niche
As entrepreneurs, we tend to struggle with this for such a long time. We beat ourselves in the corner thinking that our niche is already saturated and that we cannot take our expertise and experience to create a sustainable business. You aren't alone thinking this way, if you are. It happens to the best of us and it's only natural to think that way.
Many people truly believe there’s no room for another player in their market and that other companies are operating in their desired segment. But that is far from true. There will always be room for a newcomer to gain traction.
There is so much room for opportunity for everyone who wants to take the leap. We wouldn’t have the awesomeness of Google if Sergey Brin and Larry Page thought there was no room for another search engine. There are two big things to realize:
● There is an opportunity to create something better than what’s out there
● There is room to cater to a different, perhaps more specific audience
When you focus on your business, you can tune into how you can create value that can benefit a group of people that will naturally become your loyal fans and customers.
How To Positively Mind Your Own Business?
“Worry about yourself” is such hollow advice that is easier said than done. More often than not, as entrepreneurs and business owners, we worry so much about what others are doing; so much so that we lose sight of our own processes which erases all our hard work and the race to prosperity itself.
Living in a world that revolves around the internet has made it much easier to get distracted from minding our own business.
● Becoming overly concerned about the failures and success of peers in our industry
● Thinking too much about how our competitors or customers perceive us
● Doubting what we have created
● Doubting the ability to carve a place in the market to succeed
Don’t fear competition - embrace it
Every single successful business owner has had to learn how to be comfortable with the word competition. It exists in every industry and should be seen as a healthy aspect in business prosperity! Competition is necessary for your brand to grow, get better with time, and adapt to the changing demands of your market.
Instead of obsessing over each success and shortcoming that your competition has, take the time to learn about them. Instead, research the top folks in your niche and get to know them on a personal level. View it as a type of networking! The benefit here is that you can further translate what you find into helping set yourself apart from your rivals, which helps you to carve out a deeper spot in your market.
Obsessing over your competition isn’t a productive use of your time, but learning to harbor a smart, healthy awareness of them is.
What works for you? Stick with it!
A business is a lot like a marriage - YOU created your brand. YOU have been married to your business since the beginning, from idea to execution. You know the intimate highs and lows that have brought you both success and failures along the way. Why does this matter? Because you know your business inside and out, better than anyone else could. So why should you allow someone else’s success distract you from the journey you’re on?
One of the best ways to keep your eye on the prize in business is to measure the results that come from the strategies you implemented. For instance, how much do you spend on advertising campaigns? And how much revenue are those methods bringing in?
If those strategies are raking in profit - use it, even if another peer in your industry didn’t find success with it. Don’t second guess yourself based on the experience of others - you could be missing out!
Remember that there are tons of variables that set every single business apart from the next. From a different team dynamic, market, target audience and more - all these things means that what works for them may not work for you and vice versa.
Take the experience of other businesses with a grain of salt and don’t let yourself become distracted. When you focus on what works for you and dedicate your time and energy to it, you are bound to find success in what you do.
Focus on your customers, not the competition
Instead of wasting your time, energy and money spying and obsessing on your competitors, you should tune into the needs and wants of your customers. How can you rise to meet their expectations? If you spend your time focusing on your competitors, you will lose sight of why your business exists, as well as fail to hear the voices of your target audience.
A favorite quote of mine comes straight from Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon: “If we can keep our competitors focused on us while we stay focused on the customer, ultimately we’ll turn out alright.” This strategy is so powerful!
Focus on the prize
Imagine you’re participating in a race; the finish line is in sight, but then you hear the pounding of running feet behind and beside you. You start to look anxiously to the left and right, becoming concerned with how close those runners are getting to finishing the race.
It is then you start to second guess your talent and all the dedicated hours you spent training for that race. When you lose sight of the finish line, you can waiver in the moment just enough to lose your balance, trip, and fail.
If you want your business to become fruitful, you need to keep your eyes on the prize, or end result! This is why having a defined vision, mission and belief system is vital to overall success. The goal is at the end of the work day, to feel as if what you do lives up to your vision of what you want for your business.
Remember your “why” and let that be your drive to keep moving forward rather than getting caught up in what others are doing.
Do you have a yearning to set yourself and your business apart from the competition? Stop obsessing over what they are doing. Most prosperous businesses are able to maintain a healthy awareness and appreciation of their competitors, which allows them to focus on their customers and what they can do best to serve them.
When you allow your mission to propel you in your business as a reminder, you can better channel your energy into more meaningful work. With this mindset, you will find yourself so far ahead of your competition in your industry that you forget about what they are doing and build a long-lasting empire that changes people’s lives.
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Speak your heart out.