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Know Your Market and Your Competition

There are literally millions of business operating twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, and if you want to compete, you have to know your market and become an effective competitor.

Although there may be similarities, no two companies are totally alike. Each is operated by different rules and regulations, bylaws, standards, and they have different goals and priorities. Added to that, companies are run by individuals who have distinct personalities and leadership styles and they have their own goals and agendas.

In essence, companies are as different as the people who run them and to compete, you have to have a good idea of what you are up against.

You don't have to be exactly like the competition, but you should always know what similarities and differences you share with them so you can formulate a plan to compete effectively on a level playing field. You should always know what the competition is doing, how they are doing it, and how your company can match or out perform them.

You can be sure that your competition is watching and studying you, too. Businesses compete fiercely with each other. They take ideas and strategies from each other, improve on them, and then seek ways to use your ideas and innovations to benefit themselves by creating competitive advantages.

When you go into business, your goal, whether you realize it or not, is to take business away from your competitors. It may sound a little unscrupulous or mean spirited, but it's true. Most people you do business with has already done business with someone else.

Why do they chose to do business with you? They may like you as a person, like the way you present yourself, like the prices you quote, like your work or your work ethics, or they may not like being tied to any one company or business person. Or still, they may not like the way they were treated by the competition or the way the competition did the last job for them.

On the other hand, if you don't take care of your customers, your competitors will, and they will gladly do it. When it comes to making money, there are no rules that say you are not going to be challenged by the competition. Making money is why everyone goes into business for themselves. If they say money is not the reason, they are kidding themselves. Even non-profit organizations and charities compete for money.

This is what the real world of business is all about. This is why you should know your market and it is extremely important that you know your competitors. A leg up on the competition can mean the difference between staying viable or going belly up.

In business, as in life, the winners go home happy and the losers count their losses. To survive, you have to play hard and keep your eyes and ears open at all times. As a business leader, whether it is the owner, CEO, president, or manager, the buck stops with you at the end of the day.

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