Having established what not to think, say and do about your
competitors, in the next three posts we discuss how to relate with them to your
advantage. Be reminded that one of the many lies perpetuated in the marketplace
which may have barred businesses from attaining full potential is that there is
not enough money to spend on purchasing, therefore, providers need scramble for
buyers of their products and services. Not so.

Just last week, Alli Baba sold a whopping $30bn on Singles Day[11/11].In another week from now, Amazon and other online stores are expecting
to make serious profits on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. All that these
providers do to make money is to create a platform to sell items produced by
others. Smart high street stores gain higher visibility and record sales from
these outlets, the Packaging and Logistic industries, even facilitators of Payment
Systems, all benefit from this arrangement. Buyers consider they have made bargain
purchases; all players win.

The only things that separate those who make huge turnover on online stores
from their competitors are: brand identity[how well made], brand integrity [performance to promise], and brand promotion [how widely known].
These are the same features that distinguish successful entrepreneurs from their
competitors. Interestingly, because global economic success is knowledge-based,
these features are attainable via innovative thinking. A popular adage among
the Omoluabi of South-West Nigeria translates in words akin to: ’The sky
is big enough for all birds to fly without any having to touch.’.
How to
glean advantage from the competition?

Learn from them:

A budding entrepreneur must be willing to be a continuous learner,
disabuse the mind from limiting thoughts. Who best to teach you than those who
are already players in your chosen sector?  Join
yourself with those who ‘smell’ like you want toandlearn what they are doing right; do not alienate yourself from them.Business organizations can be a good source of business advice. With no
access to peer business groups, start one.Build your business network, observe other
business people,attendmeetings where they share stories and help one another.

At such meetings,
get feedback on your business idea or plan, and advice on what has worked for
others and what hasn’t. Take advantage of every opportunity to expand your generic
business knowledge, and specific issues of your Sector. Use what you learn to
step up; knowing what competitors are doing keeps you on your toes; customers
want what is best for them, so must you. As a start-up, you may need to tread
an uncharted path, a dark place where no one else has been. Except led, you
cannot see the way through, or out.

Get knowledge,
understanding and wisdom from the experiences of others. When you find
disagreement with what they are doing to succeed, then you have discovered what
you need help with, what your mind needs to change on. Be open to good ideas;
anything that works has capacity to evolve. The way to get to the place you
want to be may not sound or look good, or even right, to you, but innovate, own
it, and use technology to scale what already works for you.