office business centreYour business should be focusing on the niche market that you serve the best – that specific customer group who depends on your products and services. But what stands in the way of serving that niche? Your competitor or your own marketing? Learning how your competitor carves their niche and gets their customers might help you find your specific piece of the puzzle.

The market is a big place and that there’s plenty of room for multiple successful companies in any competitive business space. Helping the competition and hopefully leveraging some of their insights can help improve your products by learning about their mistakes and failures. Knowledge is indeed power.

It is important to know who the smart people are in your industry, and to learn from them. Do not try to duplicate your successful competitors, but find out what they did to make it in your industry. Did they do something that others in your industry did not not do – or perhaps they found a much better way of doing things? You want to learn how and what they did, so that you too can find your way to share it with your niche clients.

There are so many benefits of business networking and getting to know other small business owners and your competitors. Both can often create strategic partners. Other small business owners you network with may be potential customers or a source of leads for other customers. When it comes to networking with competitors, chances are you are not offering exactly the same thing, and they are often purchasing from many different vendors. Learning why and how they choose their vendors can help you figure out what you should be looking for in your own vendors.

If you find that you are losing business to a competitor, chances are they are offering a feature that your customers are value. Your job is to figure out what that feature or service is and market that to not just new customers, but also to your existing customers. If the competitor recognizes that they are losing some business to you, then they may also want to cooperate with you.

Determine which specific competitors you want to work with. If you know your competitors are good, honest people who are trying to put out a great product or service, one would think it is a good idea to work with them. It is always useful to have good, healthy relationships with your competitors. It is also good karma and helps to demonstrate integrity.

The one great way to collaborate with competitors is by creating or growing an industry organization with the same mutual interests of all of the business players in the same market space. Industry associations are a great way to to grow, but they are also a great way to learn. So also step back and learn – that, above all, is what will make your business grow.