Post a new topic
    11 Replies Latest reply on Feb 26, 2008 4:09 PM by puzzleman

    Do you treat your competition as your enemy?

    MYOB08 Adventurer

      As a solo flyer you are physically limited by time, only 1440 minutes per day to achieve your goals. Yes you may pull a few all nighters here and there, though unless you are outsourcing you have simply capped your capacity to work and serve your clients. So what are your options?


      As a management accountant, and solo flyer, I am fortunate to keep in close contact with my ‘competitors' both locally and nationally. Without them I doubt I would be able to offer and maintain the service I do.


      I use them as a sounding board, as a technical resource, support during busy times, and back-up for when I go on holidays. My role typically involves a lot of problem solving, and using my competition as a sounding board for clients issues / case studies can save a massive amount of time, in a time poor environment. I just received a manual in the mail from competitor G who went to a conference and picked up some extra manuals and thought I would like some. Yes thanks ...they came in very useful. I try to offer them similar assistance to them when they need it ~ the call I took at 7:30am this morning was from competitor P help I am installing a new upgrade at a clients site, what should be aware of? I was happy to answer. I just sent a text to Competitor J Do you know your email is bouncing? And I forwarded an e-newsletter to Competitor M that I thought would be of interest to her.


      I keep abreast of competition in my area, and drop an email to anyone new who has popped up on the horizon. Yes there are certainly some competitors that I do not share with. If I feel uncomfortable with their modus operandi, or the relationship is weighted in one direction, I will keep my distance.


      However if I visit a clients site and learn they have previously dealt with my competition, someone whose work I have confidence in, and the client starts rattling off a list of complaints about that consultant alarm bells ring. Experience has taught me that a client who complains may have unrealistic expectations, may not be receptive to receive and act on specialist advice, or may simply be a whinger.


      Good reliable competition is an invaluable resource that I welcome with open arms. What relationship do you have with your competition? Do you see your competition as friend or foe?
        • Re: Do you treat your competition as your enemy?
          LUCKIEST Guide
          Great question, as you said being a solo flyer, or an independent professional, you treat all
          your clients differently than a larger firm would.
          That would apply to a Doctor, Dentist, Lawyer and many other small business owners.
          If you are SMART, you learn from your competition.
          you said it best in your second paragraph. "As a management accountant, and solo flyer, I am fortunate to keep in
          close contact with my ‘competitors' both locally and nationally.
          Without them I doubt I would be able to offer and maintain the service
          I do".

          Competition is the rivalry of two or more parties over something and IS GOOD.

          Competition gives incentives for self improvement.
          If two watchmakers are competing for business,
          they will lower their
          prices and improve their products to increase their sales.
          Rivals will often refer to their competitors as "the competition".


            • Re: Do you treat your competition as your enemy?
              Iwrite Pioneer
              No. I treat them as peers.

              Even when we are going after the same assignments, I prefer not to bash, attack or malign my competition.

              Every now and then I will point an assignment in the direction of another freelancer that I know is better equipped to handle the work or that is willing to work on an assignment I am not. (As a rule, I don't do tobacco, alcohol and some pharmaceuticals advertising - it is a personal choice. No sexually explicit businesses either.)

              There isn't much to share in the form of information because we all have access to the same publications and websites, and we are on the same mailing lists. If a project is big enough, I will sometimes team up with another freelance writer, but since the late 1990's when the internet bubble burst, that has been rare.

              I do acknowledge when they do some really nice work, but that's about it.

              I really love this question. I am in business for the freedom and to provide for my family. I don't want to be some huge adverting agency that has 1000's of employees in cities all over the world. I want to be a shop of 30 - 40 souls (max) that are doing great work for a select group of clients, and having a great time doing it. If I do my job right, I really don't have any competition or at least that's how I feel.
              1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: Do you treat your competition as your enemy?
              Lighthouse24 Ranger
              Good question (and discussion so far). I see two kinds of competitors in the business services arena:

              1. Professionals with the knowledge, skills, experience, credentials, ethics, and commitment necessary to consistently deliver value to a client;

              2. Charlatans who claim to have expertise they don't possess, who sell products and information that are not theirs to sell (or that are available for free anyway), and/or who take money from clients without providing anything of substantial value in return.

              Members of the first group are my "peers." They are only temporarily a "foe" when we are competing for the same client or assignment. Like the WWI pilots who flew bi-planes made of cloth and wood, we respect each other for the courage (or insanity) it takes to do this -- and when circumstances force us to do battle with one another, we "fight fair." When the battle is over, it's over. We have drinks, tell stories, and may even become lifelong friends or business partners with the very person who was once trying to shoot us down. It's a very small world, after all, and it's changing constantly.

              Members of the second group are my enemy. They are con artists. They lie, cheat, steal, and deceive. They operate on the principle that "all is fair" in war and in business, and they'll tell people anything so long as there's a dollar in it. Their practices, behavior, and presence in the market is toxic to whatever profession they are in -- and unfortunately, it damages many of their clients' businesses, as well.
              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • Re: Do you treat your competition as your enemy?
                  Iwrite Pioneer
                  Lighthouse, I didn't think about it that way.

                  Wow. I don't know how I feel about the second group, the charlatans. I worry about how I react to them because to those who don't understand my problem with them, I might appear elitist.

                  I guess they are my enemies. I have enemies. Why don't I feel good about that?
                    • Re: Do you treat your competition as your enemy?
                      MYOB08 Adventurer

                      I think your perception of the situation is very BLACK & WHITE.

                      Life would be a lot easier if neat categories existed, but in my reality, as a soloist, who has personal relationships with my clients it does not work like that.

                      I think I am perhaps a bit more like IWRITE ~ I am never going to be Gordon Gecko, Donald Trump or Bill Gates.

                      I want to work with positivity, and competition I actually find draining, and do avoid it.

                      I was interested in getting others perceptions.

                      I do have a competitor in Capalaba ~ about 20 minutes East of me ~ she runs a slick operation and has even offered me a job ~ she bad mouths me, and scares me a little. I avoid her to the extent I may not even take on her clients.

                      I do not spemd my energies competing, but I am interested to hear other small business perceptions.

                  • Re: Do you treat your competition as your enemy?
                    LUCKIEST Guide
                    6 GOOD answers (before this one) and the question is STILL NOT ANSWERED
                      • Re: Do you treat your competition as your enemy?
                        DomainDiva Ranger
                        OK about this one?

                        As an independent consultant in the aviation maintenance field I know a lot of people. There are some people that I am naturally closer to than others and am able to work with and also feel comfortable referring work to. There are also those whose work I have no respect for as well. The industry knows who they are...I do not need to waste my time or make myself look bad by bashing them...after all there is more than enough business to go around for everyone. Although I have had people try to steal my clients, I just keep doing a great job and let the client make the decision. I have not lost a client yet in this way. If I get a call from a potential client bashing another consultant/company I make my decision based on what I know not how much money I can potentially make from a new client.

                        HOWEVER...for my technology start up...anyone and everyone supporting the old way or designing any application that would/could/may interfere with my future client base is my 'competition enemy.' The list is huge. It includes companies like Office Max & Staples that sell file folders and companies like UPS and FedEx that ship all of the boxes of records. But FedEx is my enemy ONLY in that arena as they are the only company that I trust with my personal and company shipping. To effectively market our new application I have to include all of the elements that support the old way of doing things...and the other applications being marketed as total solutions that really are not.

                        Competition is a good thing....but too many people assume that they have none or assume everyone is their friend or assume that everyone is their enemy. Friends can be enemies in business arenas. Enemies are not necessarily enemies either....

                        Look at it in this context:

                        When the person that stole the Coke formula wanted to sell it to Pepsi, the Pepsi CEO called the Coke CEO and told him. The person that did this evil thing is now in jail. Now everyone knows that the business competition between these two companies is fierce and that Coke & Pepsi are enemies but the CEO's that run the companies actually play golf together! (I was in a business class with a Pepsico upper level manager...). If the friend/enemy thing here was compartmentalized then the CEO of Pepsi would not have called the Coke CEO.

               what context?
                      • Re: Do you treat your competition as your enemy?
                        NatOnline Tracker
                        I do not treat my competition as my enemy, but I don't respect competitors that take parts of my website contents for advertising, or copy a part of my page title that ranks high in the search engines. That's pathetic and not creative. I'm not even talking about all the scrapers who copied my entire site to gain ranking in the search engines.

                        I respect competitors that are creative and compete honestly. I don't mind if they are better than me either.
                        • Re: Do you treat your competition as your enemy?
                          puzzleman Tracker
                          I enjoy my competitors. We don't really have a social situation like the folks above because there is few people who do what I do. What I love is that they are coming up with new products and I come up with new products. It is interesting to watch the directions that they take with new product ideas. My competitors keep me on my toes, both in quality, service and ideas.

                          I relish a trade show when my competition shows up. I have and keep a reputation of having the highest quality product. When someone is telling that my prices are a little high, I tell them to check out the other vendors. I even give the booth number and directions. I also make sure that they know the differences and why mine is more expensive. Most of the time the customer comes back but the other ones have usually bought from them. So I use my competition as a selling tool.