Competition is typically seen as an ever-present pressure in the business world. It pushes us to stay ahead of others, no matter what.
But there are two sides to competition. When a wrong perspective permeates your strategy, it produces negative results. However, when used healthfully, competition can promote growth and provide benefits for customers while setting you apart.
Let’s look at these two sides in more detail:
The Wrong Way
Unhealthy competition happens when you compare yourself to others. This can be comparing your business to another business or yourself to another co-worker. Are you as successful? Smart? Ambitious? Do you have more employees? A bigger and better product?
This is unhealthy because there will always be someone better, more successful, or more profitable. You’ll be working yourself and your company like a gerbil on a wheel—going fast, but nowhere beneficial.
This is an easy trap to fall into. Some will argue that evaluating your business against another keeps you sharp, helping you anticipate changes and ways to grow. While you should be educated in such things, the incentive should not be “Well, so-and-so is doing it, and it’s working.”
The Right Way
Healthy competition takes place by comparing yourself to yourself. Look back over the last year, month, or even week—how have you improved? What have you accomplished? How did you overcome obstacles? Are you proud of your overall success since last year, or do you have room to improve? If you haven’t met your goals, why not? What’s holding you back?
Now is the time to ask yourself what you can do better. What goals will you set to accomplish in the coming week, month, and year? Start small, learn to adapt, and keep growing.