I was talking to a young entrepreneur recently. She is quitting our company to invest more of her energy into growing her (previously) part-time company. She has a specialty business that has some potential and she has been growing it slowly over time. She feels she is losing opportunity by not giving her full-time attention to her business.

I asked her what led to her to this decision. “Everything is lining up right now”, she said jokingly, “I feel it, in my aurora.” “I suppose the moon and Jupiter are aligned also”, I responded. We laughed and she said, “It is all coming together.”

We talked about the possibility of her staying on with our company in a limited position so that she would have some financial support. “Mike, I am not concerned with the loss of money. I just don’t want to let the company down.” I really appreciated that consideration and told her so.

I was most curious about the timing of this decision. I asked her why was she choosing to make this entrepreneurial leap now? “Well, one of the stores that had approached me about putting my product in their stores put my competitor’s product in their stores and their product sucks”, she replied. She could not meet the store’s request so they started buying from her competitor.

I understood her reason now. A competitor’s movement or their reaction to our business actions can bring us to a decision point.

There are two actions to consider when examining a competitor.

One is examining what are they doing, and then determining what do I need to do to counteract their movement. How can I gain back lost ground and move to capture the market? I am not talking about being paranoid and scared; this is about being rational and prepared to act if necessary.

The second consideration is anticipating how our competitors might respond when we do something that will impact them. How can we predict another business or person’s reactions? Obviously one way is to recall how they have reacted in the past. If an agency has followed your lead in other situations and copied you, you can probably predict they will do it again. If agencies say things like “we don’t do _______ because you have just done so”, you may expect them to do the same this time. Sometimes you will find businesses do what they think will be an equivalent or larger action in a different area to offset your actions.

Everyone is Watching

One thing you can count on is that people within businesses will take notice and 1. Either seek to negate what you are doing, 2. come up with an alternative action, or 3. Start thinking differently about their business and pay closer attention to study your agency.

Whatever they do, it will have something to do with the impact of your innovation or the creative steps you are taking. They will be adjusting and reacting to how you are doing business and they way that is working to disrupt their business.

How closely are you watching your competition and what are you doing in response to their decisions and actions? If you are taking aggressive actions to capture more of the market and succeed; they most certainly are watching you.

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