How To Run a Competitive Business When You’re Anything But


Stop trying to be better than the competition and start trying to be different.

Tennis net in a tennis court

Businesses exist in a competitive environment, so it’s imperative that your start-up has the creative edge. But what if the mere idea of competition brings you out in a cold sweat? Rest assured, there are ways to run a successful, competitive company even when you don’t fancy yourself as much of a competitor. The knack is to forget you’re competing in the first place. Allow us to explain…

Innovation is your friend

Keeping one eye on the competition (see, there’s that word again) is usually a given, but if you’re tangling yourself up in knots worrying about what your peers are doing, it could be time to momentarily turn the blinkers on. Instead, plough your energy into making your company more innovative. As Jacob Beckley, VP of innovation at Fusion92 points out, a competitive advantage is a happy by-product of innovation.

“In the vast sea of innovation, companies that take the largest risk, close the biggest gaps and identify the newest opportunities are rewarded with the title of true innovators and leaders by their consumers and peers,” says Jacob. “These true innovators are setting themselves apart from any and all competition.” So stop concerning yourself with what others are doing and start focusing on how you can make your start-up standout.

Be your authentic self

Nine out of 10 consumers say they would reward a brand for its authenticity, while 91 per cent say they value honesty from the companies they buy their products from. So put the megaphone down – attempting to out-shout about the merits of your company over your competitors’ brands really isn’t necessary. Instead, a little bit of transparency regarding who you are and the values you live by go a long way.

Case in point: Matt Aitchison, the founder of podcast Millionaire Mindcast and the 6 Figure Flipper online course, which imparts the investment wisdom that helped him flip 100 houses by the age of 25. Once upon a time, Matt was a troubled youth facing felony charges – a fact that he has never tried to conceal. “I learnt to share those turbulent times because all of us face challenges in life. Everyone has some sort of valley, some sort of dark time and those times have been the greatest teachers for me,” says Matt, who urges other entrepreneurs to be honest and own their journey.

Different is better than better

You might be uncompetitive, but your product can’t be. Yet that doesn’t mean that you have to invest all your energy into making your company better than the competition. Instead, aim for ‘different’. “Replacing the word ‘better’ with ‘different’ is a subtle and strategic way of highlighting your strengths against your competitors’ weaknesses,” advises Adrian Miller, author of The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways To Sales Success and The Blatant Truth: How to Not Screw Up the Customer Service Game.

Indeed, Mike Michaelowicz, author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, urges companies to set themselves apart from the competition by being unique. “Many businesses I work with, regardless of their size, are trying to be better,” says Mike, a successful entrepreneur who has stated three different million-dollar ventures. “I’m here to tell you that better is not better. Different is better.”

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