As I write this, the 2014 NCAA College Basketball Tournament has just begun. I have to admit, it’s my favorite thing to watch next to the NFL. I’m a huge sports fan and have been since I was a child. Whether I’m out on the courts playing tennis, or watching my favorite team play, I love the competition. The strategy, the preparation and focus on using your strengths. The goal of course, is to win. I do not believe that everyone deserves to be handed out a trophy just because they signed up to play. It’s okay to be competitive. It’s okay to want to succeed. More and more nowadays, it seems that those two things are no longer desirable traits in society and it causes me concern.
Let me put this in a business perspective. What if there was no competition in our businesses? What if everyone was created equal? Do you think that your business would be successful if there was no difference between you and company B down the street providing the same service? If everyone was the same, why would there be a need to be innovative in your business? Everything would be the same. Everything would be equal.
Success is the goal
We are in business to be what? Successful. Yes, it’s okay to say that word. It’s more than okay to have that as your business goal, your personal motto. In fact, you should be telling everyone in your company that the goal of the company is to be successful. It’s not arrogant to want to be successful because what does success bring? In our businesses, success means gaining and keeping accounts, increasing sales, finding ways to save money and somehow increasing our margins because that all leads to more money to the bottom line. More money to the bottom line means more money for us, for our families, for our employees, etc.
In order to be successful, we’ll face competition, because we are not all equal. We need to be smart on how we handle that competition, especially if we are the industry leader. If your competitor is going around making false claims that their business is superior to yours, their service is superior to yours, let them. There is absolutely no need for you to fall to their level and sling mud, too. In fact, the best way to handle a competitor who is playing dirty is with a great “offensive” plan. Don’t be afraid to show your prospects and clients how you differ from your competition, but stick to the facts. Don’t make false claims to make yourself seem better because you will fall short on delivering those promises and your client retention and reputation will suffer. If someone is slinging mud, it’s generally because they feel threatened. They know they can’t compete.
Reevaluate after a loss
And if you happen not to be in the leading position, that’s alright. Every team has some losses in competition. Go back and make some adjustments or improvements. One of my favorite sayings is from Donald Trump, “Sometimes by losing a battle, you find a new way to win the war.” Don’t ever be afraid of winning — of being successful.