What business owner, executive or public accounting firm partner doesn’t say, “We’re in a very competitive market/niche/whatever?” They all do. Everyone thinks they are in a very competitive space; roughly 99.9% of them are correct. Battling competitors, in business or otherwise, has existed since Day One on this planet—and this condition will surely continue.
On a recent expedition battling the unstoppable force of nature in my yard, I selected my weapons (tools) of choice for a battle against the results of the warm, early spring. The main competitor was the trees. Thinking of the end of the song “The Trees” by the rock band Rush…
…our tools of competition: price (hatchet), service level (axe), innovation (saw), etc., keep it all in-check in the business world. However, we all know that on a regular basis, “surprises” sprout like weeds in our businesses. They’re all of varying degrees, of course–could be a new competitor, a promotion that steals business, an updated product–it’s always something. Constant, yes, but it’s a full spectrum of competitive forces, some of which keep you awake at night and others that barely register.
So in my yard a couple of weekends ago, I chose my weapons and went to work. However, the competitive forces were against me. I encountered these competitors:
Back Pain – it was a surprise that hit me the next morning; an unanticipated striking blow (an aggressive firm acquires a firm in your market; your firm keeps losing RFPs, getting undercut on price by your competitor “just to have the work”)
Poison Ivy – you can watch for it and prepare for it; sometimes it gets you anyway (firms in your market unveil snappy new marketing initiatives; an employee resigns and takes a few clients with them)
Bee Sting – minor annoyances and momentary dents in the armor; the expected waves in the battle (a referral source starts sending more prospects to the CPA across the street than to you; a competing firm gets an “in” with leaders of a trade association you’ve been working)
What are the competitive forces on your battle field? How can you prepare? What can be done to minimize damage? Regardless of your market, strength, resources…there’s always a battle to be had. If you’re having more bee stings than episodes of back pain, you’re winning.
iShade’s BulletIN…keep it open on your computer every day.