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Beat competitors to the punch

Industry News

Here are six ways to snap up opportunities your competition may miss.

OPEN Forum | December 21, 2011

Succeeding in today’s ever-changing business world demands that you stay ahead of your competition. If you’re running a business, you probably already understand this.

But how do you pull it off? Here are six ways to take advantage of lucrative opportunities your competitors miss.

Obsess over your competitors

To take advantage of opportunities, watch everything that your competitor does. You probably spend most of your time reacting to competitors, adjusting to what they’ve done. That drains you of the energy to execute well and keeps you from being ready for new opportunities when they emerge.

Spend less time planning what you will do and more time analyzing your competitors. To help motivate you, think about how competitors can take market share from you and damage your business. Consider assigning a person or small team to this task.

Pay attention to upstart rivals

If you ignore competitors that you think won’t amount to much, it could hurt you badly. Craigslist and Google had a significant impact on newspapers. Most traditional papers didn’t think much of the upstarts at first, and those older media outlets are out of business now.

Pay attention to new competitors. You can learn new ways to use the technologies you’re used to. You might discover business models that could drastically change the marketplace.

Most of your competitors will probably ignore the new guys, which means you have a better chance of survival.

Become unpredictable

Don’t forget that your competitors are probably watching you. They study where they can take advantage of your habits. When you develop predictable habits, you become an easy target.

You have to be unpredictable. A great strategy is to conceal your moves.

Google doesn’t announce when it makes changes to its search algorithm. Journalists and bloggers uncover that information. Google also hides its algorithm, keeping SEO companies and competitors from gaming it.

Apple does a lot of pre-selling, but in a secretive way. This keeps competitors in the dark about weak organizational habits, while they drum up loads of free publicity.

It’s hard to control information in huge organizations, so leaks happen. But if your operation is smaller, keep a tight lip and stay unpredictable. Your moves will be easier to pull off.

For the remaining three tips, click here.

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