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How To Leverage Your Competition #FireMeUp11 - Debra Trappen
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How To Leverage Your Competition #FireMeUp11

This post is part of the d11 Personal Branding Blog Series…   


It is time to dive into the third point in the series:

#3: Know your competitors.


Here are SIX ways to fire up your thinking around and leverage your competition:


Start by writing them down.  Put them in an Evernote folder or fill a whiteboard with their names, do whatever YOU do when you make lists!  This sounds basic, but it’s a mistake many business owners and salespeople make. You need to know who all your competitors are–not just the obvious ones, but the ones flying under the radar as well.


Once you know who they are – pay attention. Create Google Alerts for each of them. Follow them on Twitter.  Use products like Newsle to seek out articles written by/about them. Periodically review their websites.  Don’t miss out on the IRL (in real life) research too!  If you own a winery, when was the last time you “experienced” tastings at your competition?


Okay, you know who they are and you have set up listening channels to stay “in the know”…  Now, connect with them! Join industry and business networking groups online (think LinkedIn) and associations. Connecting with the PEOPLE behind the business is key.  People do business with people.  Understanding each other may lead to: sharing referrals of overflow work, adding a subject matter expert to your circle, or simply meeting someone who shares your passion and vision for the same industry!


If they are really nailing a new product launch or filling a need with a new service… think about how you might be able to fill that niche need for YOUR clients.  Let me be clear,  I am not saying you should COPY what your competitors are doing.  I am saying you should learn from them and be inspired by them.  Competition breeds excellent and can PUSH YOU TO GREATNESS.  Come from an abundance mindset, not that nasty old scarcity kind. Don’t let their success beat you down… go to the drawing board, translate it, and add your own brand of sizzle and sparkle. 


By the way, remember YOU are also inspiring others.


Go along with me here…  Often times my clients get better clarity for their OWN BRAND when we are doing a competitive analysis.  They are able to hone in on their niche; focus in on the path that BEST fits their values, skills, and passion… all by paying attention to the competition.  Remember, just because everyone else is doing it (jumping off a bridge :} or offering a new service), doesn’t mean you have to do it too.  Knowing about it and having to implement it are two different things. 

Last, but definitely NOT least… 


Simply put,  trying looking at what a competitor “looks like” in a different way… are they:

Unicorns or Furniture?  
If you’re a social media specialist (aka: a unicorn) you absolutely must show your potential clients why investing in social media is more important than investing in redecorating the office space with new furniture or upgrading the antiquated phone system. (*cough*)

Solving the same problem differently?
Let’s say you sell cupcakes. (I can hear the collective – yummmmm…. )  Okay, so you KNOW you are not just competing with other cupcake joints, right? Local businesses who sell sweets and desserts are your competition…  You need to show your potential sugar-addicted customers why your cupcakes are better than cookies, pies, crepes, or frozen yogurt. 

Is it a possible “inside” job?
Imagine you run a H2 biz –>house cleaning and handy man business. You know most of your potential clients can clean their own homes or put those bookcases together. Your job is to paint the picture of WHY they should hire you by reminding them of the fabulous things they can be doing with all of the “saved” time!  Golf, tennis, wine tasting on the weekends, playing with their kiddos…. Know your clients and customize your message to them.

If  your potential clients “do nothing” will they survive, thrive or dive? 
This one always seems to be overlooked by businesses and entrepreneurs. Our passion for the services we provide or the amazing product we peddle clouds our vision.  MANY customers choose to “do nothing”.  In the consulting/services world “doing nothing” can truly be THE #1, el grande, numero uno competition.

Remember, taking some time to GET REAL about your competition is an important part of your business planning. Enjoy the process of researching who they are, what they are doing, networking with them, and being inspired or ignited by them… and don’t miss out on the “not so obvious” competitors out there!


Have these topics stretched your thinking about COMPETITION?  

What spoke to you the most? 


  • Are You Ready to Boost Your Personal Brand? #FireMeUp11 - d11 consulting
    Posted at 23:31h, 20 March Reply

    […] Know your competitors, so you can define your differentiators and tout them.Be careful not to “compare” your behind the scene struggles to their successful highlight reels online.  […]

  • Sean Carpenter
    Posted at 06:44h, 22 March Reply

    Debra – Nice post. It’s an interesting concept to spend time focusing on the competition because we have mostly been taught to focus on ourselves, our team and the things we can control. Your message challenges the reader to at least consider the competition from a research/strategy/understanding viewpoint which makes a ton of sense.

    If you do as you suggest at the beginning and find some small little ways to improve yourself, before you know it, the competition should and probably will be doing the same thing to you.

    Master motivator and legendary basketball coach John Wooden said this about the competition – “Be concerned with your preparation, not theirs; your execution, not theirs; your effort and desire, not theirs. Don’t worry about them. Let them worry about you.”

    If you do “awesome” the way it’s supposed to be done for the right reasons, it’s impossible for the competition not to stop and take notice.

    Thanks for the post

    • Debra Trappen
      Posted at 11:36h, 22 March Reply

      Exactly, Sean. I have been having so many conversations with clients and friends obsessing about the competition – I felt it was time for a mindset shift. It is nearly impossible NOT to think or pay attention to the competition, so why not make it a positive, useful exercise… right? :)

      As I mention in #6, competition is not even always other PEOPLE… it is inaction.

      Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful comment and for taking time to visit the site!

      Cheers, Bro. :)

  • Andy Capelluto
    Posted at 18:54h, 27 March Reply

    This was a great [food for thought] post Debra, especially for me. In my efforts to be first with the information, original in my presentation and image, I tend to ignore the competition. In my mind I offer a product that is filled with vital information at a bargain price and I thought that was enough. Clearly an oversight on my part. After reading this post I will definitely pay more attention to them, starting with a list …

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