In business, it is widely believed that your competitors are to be treated as the enemy. This may be the case for veteran players, battling for dominance in their marketplace, but what are the rules for those just getting their start?
As a newbie in any field, it may not be advantageous to your progress or reputation, to try and go after the top dog. A yellow belt in karate wouldn’t have much luck defeating a black belt in a sparring match, or get very far by taking them on every day. However, that same yellow belt could learn to defeat other yellow belts, increasing themselves in rank, if he chose instead to learn from the black belt.
What is true in martial arts is also the same in business. As a newbie, treating your competition as mentors, can accelerate your growth and success exponentially, and even generate income at the same time. Some of the most enlightening experiences of my lifetime, have been from working for those who were positioned where I had aspired to be. I like to call it, paid training, and you can’t beat that.
Here are 3 reasons why beginners should work with, instead of against, their competitors:
The reason why is because who they are. Your competitors. What qualifies another as a competitor? The fact that you consider them a challenge to your success and/or business, demonstrates their ability and skill to drive revenue away from you. Otherwise you wouldn’t consider them as competition.
When starting out, recognizing those who have already done it, and are doing it well, is the first step to mastering success. The big competitors have already put in the time, money and effort to get where they are today. Your ability to recognize that and learn from their past mistakes can save you from the wasted time, money and humiliation they once suffered.
When setting your course for success, wouldn’t it make sense to learn from someone who has already made the trip, and charted the map? Accept their guidance. They have uncovered lessons that can save you from making the mistakes that could halt or hinder your success
“You must learn the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself” – Sam Levenson
The word leverage is derived from the word levier, which means to lift or to advance; to give a minimum input that attains maximum results. It is the ability to gain more with less resources, and it can be used to accelerate your success as well. Imagine trying to remove a flat tire without a tire rod.
The experience would be strenuous, if not grueling. This scenario is not far off from the true difficulty you will face if you are unable to learn how to use competitor leverage to your advantage. Using your competitors prestige and experience alongside your vision and sweat equity, can push your dreams into reality. This is probably one of the most surefire ways to 10X your results in any field.
In any line of work, you should always do and give more than what is expected. This is especially true when developing relationships with those in your marketplace. While you would obviously refrain from giving away or up anything that could be leveraged against you, contributing time and effort to others’ needs, opens you to reciprocation.
Doing big favors for big players can open you up to huge opportunities in the future. And while the main focus here has been on big competitors, the same courtesy should be given to those who are just starting out as well. Helping others will open you up to future partnerships and business relations with those who could one day too make it in your marketplace.
“The truly gifted negotiator, then, is one whose initial position is exaggerated enough to allow for a series of concessions that will yield a desirable final offer from the opponent.” – Robert B. Cialdini
When starting out, you need to be smart about what actions you take. Will you take the difficult path and fight the tide? Or will you learn to swim with the current and use it to take you to your goals?