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Competition: It’s Your Advantage

Steve Dusek, owner of Dakota Business Lending

By Steve Dusek
Owner of Dakota Business Lending

We are fortunate to see a boom in the number of new business start-ups across our state. Every business that opens its doors has an impact on its community and other businesses in it. Sometimes the business is complementary to existing commerce and sometimes it is in direct competition. 

What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of competition? I am guessing it is along the lines of winning or of losing? While that is true in the world of sports, competition in the business world is just a bit different. Businesses that see competition as a negative tend to be the ones that end up falling behind, whereas the ones that see it as a positive to their business will thrive. It is easy to see why competition has a negative connotation. After all, no one wants to see hard work and livelihoods losing.

But the best part about it is, businesses can influence and control their response to new rivals.

When a business is noticing new competition popping up in their market, they can have one of two reactions: Resent or Re-Plan. Both have their struggles, but only one allows the business to continue amid competition. Let’s take a look at what some of these reactions might look like…

Resent

  • “This town cannot support another business!”
  • “They think it is easy to run this type of business.”
  • “Why do businesses keep showing up?”
  • “This change is not good for our community!”
  • “Customers don’t need all these choices!”

Re-Plan

  • “How do we make the ‘pie’ bigger for everyone?”
  • “How can we use history to our advantage?”
  • “How can we keep our customers?” “How can we support our community?”
  • “What can we give our customers that is better?” 

See the difference? One rolls with the punches while the other is totally against the change. But here is the kicker: competitors will dish out the punches regardless. You have the choice to win against the competition by focusing on the right thing…your customer. That is the most effective way to influence your situation and the success of your business.

Competition brings out the best in all businesses! How? Because this means businesses must give their very best to their customers. It is the consumers that hold the power to make a business grow, but the catch is that businesses must work to win their interest and loyalty to the best of their ability. Businesses that rest on their laurels tend to get passed over in the long run. That is your focus as a business owner: the long run. And the best way to take care of the long run? Take care of your customer in front of you today!

It’s time to get creative! Use the power of partnerships with other businesses to draw in complementary customers. Leverage promotional opportunities with neighboring businesses. Heck, reach out to your new competitor and see if there’s anything you can do to bring more business to your community overall. Try to think of ways to increase the size of the pie that is shared, not just ration what currently exists.

Business is not for the faint of heart. It can be rough at times, and competition is one of the factors that make it so. But by taking your business by the horns and looking at it from a customer perspective, it may allow you to notice the one little change to beat your competition. This way, you are using the competition to help grow your business into the best it can be for you and your customers –which turns out to be a win-win for all! Questions or comments? Email us at insight@dakotabusinesslending.com 

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Written by Steve Dusek

Steve Dusek is the president and CEO of Dakota Certified Development Corporation (CDC). He has over twenty-eight years of experience in managing and delivering non-traditional lending solutions for small business in rural America and in maintaining successful business cultures.

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