Sep 162010
 
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Behave like an ostrich by burying your head in the sand and you’ll just end up with your ears full of sand.  I’ve always been amazed when entrepreneurs tell me they have no competition.  It is the very rare company, in any industry, at any stage of the company lifecycle that does not have any competition.  How many entrepreneurial companies operate as monopolies?  None that I can think of.  There is no benefit to denying the existence of competition, or at the very least of substitutes that are currently being used to accomplish whatever you are offering.  Any business plan that denies the existence of competition is immediately tossed in the circular file by virtually every venture capital and other private investor.  So, rather than denying that competition exists, create the mindset and culture that you will identify and track all key competitors and substitutes, then use whatever you learn to your advantage.  Set up a tracking template with whatever measures (metrics) are most relevant in your industry, then designate someone in your organization to closely follow the competition.  Or do it yourself – it’s a great way to stay in touch with what’s going on in the market.  If all of your competitors are not publicly traded (or even if they are), you’ll be well-advised to gather your information as much as possible directly from customers and other players in your market.  Be as discrete as possible, but be relentless in your pursuit of knowing more about your industry than any of your competitors or other constituencies..

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