In the business world, there is nothing but competition. In the outdoor power equipment industry, there is competition at all levels: manufacturers, distributors and local independent dealers. Within each of these levels, manufacturers, distributors and local independent dealers face their own challenges and things they focus on in combatting their competitors. For manufacturers, it’s important to be in tune with what the next big thing is for the industry. Understanding what other manufacturers are creating and how they can stay one step ahead, or at least create a level playing field, is critical. For distributors, it’s important to understand what the manufacturers are looking to accomplish, while also understanding what the customers are looking for. In addition, distributors have to compete with others by showing the value that they bring to the table. On the local independent dealer level, there are various challenges that are faced daily — price competitiveness, product availability, service competition, etc. Understanding what you do best is important, so that you are able to focus on and excel in that area. In his blog, best-selling author Seth Godin wrote the following about the importance of knowing your “edge.”
It’s pretty easy to figure out what you’re competing for — attention, a new gig, a promotion, a sale…
But what is your edge? In a hypercompetitive world, whatever you’re competing on is going to become your focus.
If you’re competing on price, you’ll spend most of your time counting pennies.
If you’re competing on noise, you’ll spend most of your time yelling, posting, updating, publishing and announcing.
If you’re competing on trust, you’ll spend most of your time keeping the promises that make you trustworthy.
If you’re competing on smarts, you’ll spend most of your time getting smarter.
If you’re competing on who you know, you’ll spend most of the time networking.
If you’re competing by having true fans, you’ll spend most of your time earning the trust and attention of those that care about your work.
If you’re competing on credentials, you’ll spend most of your time getting more accredited and certified.
If you’re competing on perfect, you’ll need to spend your time on picking nits.
If you’re competing by hustling, you’ll spend most of your time looking for shortcuts and cutting corners.
If you’re competing on getting picked, you’ll spend most of your day auditioning.
If you’re competing on being innovative, you’ll spend your time being curious and shipping things that might not work.
If you’re competing on generosity, you’ll look for even more ways to be generous with your time, your insights and your work.
And if you’re competing on always-on responsiveness, you’ll spend your time glued to your work, responding just a second faster than the other guy.
In any competitive market, be prepared to invest your heart and soul and focus on the thing you compete on. Might as well choose something you can live with, a practice that allows you to thrive.
Competition is healthy for all businesses; it’s what keeps us in check. Competitiveness ensures that we are providing the best possible services and/or products to the customer. There is always going to be someone else out there that can provide the same product or services you are offering; however, they can’t always do it the way you can. What advantage do you have, or need to have, over your competition in order to gain or retain customers? Focusing on key elements that give you a competitive advantage will be what sets you apart from the competition. In today’s world, there are so many similar businesses — standing out is the only way to get the attention of your customers. Continue to be competitive by perfecting your strong suits!