How to Win Against Your Competition

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I’ve been doing homework for the past week or so.

I’ve been doing homework because in a little over a week, I’ll be attending a business development workshop, and the workshop leader gave us the homework assignment. Since I want to get the most out of the workshop (and since the thought of getting in trouble from the teacher triggers upsetting high school memories), I’ve been diligently working.

One part of the homework has been particularly eye-opening.

There are four steps to this part, and I wanted to share them with you because I think they could help you develop your own business.

THE FIRST STEP is to identify five to seven factors that actually move the needle in your work. In my work as a keynote speaker, those factors include things like Credibility, Speaking Skills, and Entertainment Value. These are factors that have direct impact on the bottom line of my business.

What are the factors that directly impact your bottom line? @Billstainton #leadership #producingresults #competitiveadvantage Share on X

STEP TWO is to honestly rate yourself, on a scale of 1-10 (10 meaning you are a true industry rock star; 1 meaning you’re sitting in the nosebleed seats watching the rock stars) in each of the factors you’ve identified.

STEP THREE is to identify your five closest competitors. Chances are that you already know who at least some of these competitors are. But try doing an internet search for your category and/or industry. For example, if you’re an electrician in Detroit, try doing a search for “Detroit electrician.” Because that’s what your potential clients are doing. See who comes up. Some of the results may surprise you.

Do you really know who your competitors are? #leadership #producingresults #competitiveadvantage Share on X

STEP FOUR—which will take some time and effort—is to assess each of your five closest competitors using those same five to seven factors on which you rated yourself. Same scale: 1-10. This will probably mean paying a visit to your competitors’ web sites, reading their testimonials, maybe even talking to some of their customers.

If your competitors are out-performing you—in terms of sales, income, customer satisfaction, or any other metric you want to measure—this 4-step homework assignment will help you understand why. Once you’ve determined the factors that really move the needle in your industry, and you’ve numerically ranked both yourself and your competitors on each of these factors, you’ll be able to clearly see where the gaps are. You’ll see where you may need to “up your game.”

I score a healthy 8 or 9 for several of my factors (I didn’t give myself a 10 in any of them, because I don’t want to fool myself in to believing I can’t improve). But I’m below average on a few. After doing this assignment, it’s very clear to me where I need to focus my immediate time, energy, and budget.

So, what factors will move your needle? What factors do you need to focus on in order to match—and surpass—your competitors?


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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