Creating Competitive Success

Celeste Bishop

Can you achieve business success without being competitive? How do you define and create competitive success? What would it mean to you personally … and to your business … to consistently pull off being the top competitor?

These questions … and many more … come up in seminars and talks that I give covering informative speech topics on the art and science of business competition. Business people frequently come to these sessions with some pretty pronounced biases about competition. Ironic isn’t it? … After all, they’re at a talk or seminar about competition!

So, some of those questions have to be dealt with in some manner before we can even get to the fun stuff: Creating Competitive Success.

Is it possible to be successful without being competitive?

If you have an attractive market situation – strong growth, profit and volume then my answer is “yes” it is possible but not very probable to sustain success without becoming an ever-more astute competitor.

Why? Because everyone wants your spot! And they will be “going to school on you” so that they can shorten their pain in time, mistakes, and expense to snag your customers.

How do you define and create competitive success?

Defining competitive success is painfully easy. Look for the x-factor. The x-factor is the extra value that you gain because you were able to improve a decision outcome, take pre-emptive action to protect your customer base, invest in technology that gives you a competitive edge, lock up a critical channel, acquire high-value customers, close a deal, attract top-tier strategic partners and more … because you either knew or anticipated competitors’ behavior and were able to take action that gave you a competitive edge.

What would it mean to your company (and you!) to pull off being the top competitor?

This is an investment decision … in you and your company. What is the quantitative value of a 3% increase in sales, a 4% reduction in unit cost, or say a 5% improvement in collectibles based on action you took as a result of accurately assessing competitive intelligence?

So how do you create competitive success?

First, you understand the distinction between the art and the scienceof competing successfully. There are certain things you can do … such as creating highly efficient competitive discovery networks and leveraging competitive intelligence technologies … that fall into thescience of creating your competitive success.

That’s where most competitors stop. Successful competitors understand that there is an art to competing … a learned art … to directing highly effective intelligence discovery, knowing how to interpret it, predicting with confidence, maneuvering with certainty and taking actions that produce results throughout your business.

Competitive Guidelines

Developing your higher-level competitor capabilities begins with awareness of key Competitive Guidelines and the tools, techniques and approaches that give them vitality. The following are a few of theGuidelines that provide a roadmap on how to create your competitive success.

Competitive Guideline #1
Companies don’t compete … people compete.
Be sure that you are knowledgeable about the person who makes the decisions in your competitor’s camp. There is a technique for helping with this: Shadowing.

Competitive Guideline #2
Knowing what your competitors have done is good … predicting what they will do and acting upon it is great.
Many successful competitors find that Gaming helps to develop their skills in this critical area.

Competitive Guideline #3
Competitive intelligence is important … actionable competitive intelligence will impact your bottom line.
What is the difference between a nice to know fact and critical intelligence that drives action in your business worth? Proactive Discovery Networks go beyond reporting yesterday’s competitive news.

Competitive Guideline #4
If your competitive intelligence is driving an important decision make sure you use multiple sources.
How embarrassing to commit significant resources, time and funds to an action to learn you’ve been “played” by your competitor. There is a technique to help with this: Triangulation.

Competitive Guideline #5
Streamline the intelligence gathering process or become a victim of information overload and analysis paralysis.
In recent years Competitive Intelligence Technologies have introduced dozens of new products and services that reduce the amount of time and money spent gathering competitive data and information.

These are a few of the Competitive Guidelines that we’ve identified to create competitive success. To learn more about the Guidelines, you can find that and more at the Brain Food area. Creating Competitive Success is a process of continual observation, learning, action and mastering the art and the science of competing. Creating Competitive Success … for a difference in your life and your business results.

Copyright © Bishop Market Resources

This article was originally published As “Creating Competitive Success” in the North Bay Business Journal.

Celeste Smith Bishop is President of Bishop Market Resources, with offices in Marin and Palo Alto, California. If you’d care to learn more about Creating Competitive Success refer to additional Brian Foodarticles on the website and subscribe to our newsletter – OnCompeting, or call us at toll-free: 888-866-SWOT (7968).

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Reprinted from Brain Food – an online resource focusing on creating competitive success. Brain Food is on the web at http://www.bishopmarketresources.com