Why You Should Talk to Your Competitors

Posted by on July 2nd, 2013 - comment(s)

Every business has competitors, even businesses going into new markets. Apple’s iPhone had to compete against the status quo just like the handheld calculator had to compete against the abacus and Google had to compete against a slew of search engines. Does anyone remember how popular Ask Jeeves was? Ask who?

But why should you call up your competitors, what purpose would it serve? Shouldn’t you just close the doors, put your head down and work as hard as you can until you crush them like bugs?

No! Your competitors, especially in early stage development, should be your best friends. In most cases they are trying to work past the same barriers as you and in other cases may be stuck on something that you solved ages ago, or vice-versa.

People really are nice.

One of the biggest misconceptions of competitors is that by definition a competitor is going to be rude. Let’s clear this up: People are not rude. In almost all circumstances a competitor will be willing to have a casual conversation with you. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you will run into a competitor who is not willing to talk about anything at all, but this rarely happens.

What can I get from talking to a competitor?

There are many things that you can learn from talking to a competitor. You can gauge how their business is performing, what kind of business they are running and what really differentiates your business from theirs.  Knowledge that plays an instrumental role in determining how you will be distintive in the market.

There is also a good chance that you will be able to learn from some of the mistakes that they have made in the past, and hopefully they will be able to gain the same thing from you – Propelling both of your businesses forward.

There may even be times where you learn about another competitor. No matter how much research you have done scouring the Internet to find out what competitors exists and what stage of their business is in, you will always find that you missed something, or someone.

New partnerships

A casual conversation with a competitor may turn into an opportunity for you and your competitor. There may be projects both parties wish to pursue which a partnership, or assistance may be attainable.

Competitors shouldn’t be scary, most of the time a competitor can turn out to be your best friend. They enjoy working in the same field and niche as you, and will most likely lead to both competitors to getting a long.

So get on the phone and call up your new best friend, your competitor.

Author:

brettBrett Willemsen

Co-founder of Catchr

@BZMWillemsen

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