Lessons from Competitors by Jim Stovall

Sometimes, we get so busy competing against our competition that we forget to learn from them. We are trained to point out our own strengths and the weaknesses of our competition, but this only tells part of the story.

In business or any other competitive environment, it is always good to ask ourselves the following questions:

1. Other than ourselves, who in our field would we recommend someone to do business with?

2. Why would we recommend our competition?

3. What things do they do better than we do?

4. What can we learn from them?

It is important to realize that we can’t successfully compete with everyone on every facet of business or of life. If I were to come to your town or city and ask you which is the best restaurant in the area, you would likely ask a number of questions such as: What kind of food do you want? How much do you want to spend? Do you want something quick? Are you looking for an entire evening-long dining experience?

If we consider automobiles, the least expensive and most expensive cars on the market both have something to offer certain consumers. Oftentimes, we need to determine what our competitors do well and then consider whether or not we want to compete on that particular aspect of our product or service.

Expensive luxury cars may be more comfortable, more stylish, and safer while compact, low priced vehicles are fuel efficient and less expensive to own and operate. Both automobile companies can be excellent at what they do, but they can’t be everything to everybody.

There is a somewhat outdated business principle known as line extension. Line extension is the notion that, because a company or its products have name recognition, they can add new products and succeed by using the same name. Line extension would tell us that McDonalds should be able to succeed in fine dining, or Mercedes could get into the low-end economy car market. In reality, they would not necessarily succeed in the new venture and would, quite likely, damage their core business.

In business or in life, we’ve got to pick our battles and select our priorities. If we are to succeed at the highest level, we are going to have to focus on a limited number of elements. Rarely do you see anyone succeed simultaneously in two different ventures or fields. To compete against the best in the world, you’ve got to put forth your best effort which is totally focused and undiluted.

As you go through your day today, learn from your competition, define your area of expertise, and succeed.

Today’s the day!
Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by e-mail at JimStovall@aol.com or by visiting www.JimStovall.com

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