If I Was Your Competitor

February 25, 2011

If I was your competitor, I would focus daily on giving customers a compelling reason to do business with me and my people instead of you and yours. If that means you lose so many customers that you can no longer operate, that’s your problem, not mine.

If I was your competitor, I’d hire the very best people I could find. I’d treat them with respect and work hard to earn and keep their trust. I’d do my best to keep their wages and benefits fair and competitive. I’d make sure they were enabled to perform their jobs by providing them with meticulous training, coaching, feedback, encouragement, and support. I’d expect them to partner with me to continuously improve how we operate so we could all experience the satisfaction of being productive. I’d expect them to help me listen to our valued customers and suppliers to ensure the products and services we stand behind represent the best we have to offer.

If I was your competitor, I’d continuously challenge myself and my employees to think innovatively about what it means to be in our business. I’d give myself permission to do the things you are not willing to do, and I’d retrain customers about what to expect from the products and services we offer. I’d start with my existing customers, and then focus on retraining and then retaining new ones, including yours. I’d enable and encourage my delighted customers, employees, and suppliers to spread the word about what we are doing and how much fun we are having doing it.

If I was your competitor, I would make putting you out of business a game. My employees and I would keep score, and we would celebrate our successes with each other and our growing community of loyal customers. I know you think this is just business, but for me it’s personal. I care about my employees, my customers, my family, and myself, and if someone has to go out of business, I’m going to work extremely hard to make sure it is you and not me.

If I was your competitor, I’d exercise, eat right, get as much sleep as I could, and read voraciously to keep my mind engaged. I want to live a very long time, because running a competitive and successful business is a valuable service that I am honored to provide to my community.

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Comments (10)

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  1. Bravo!
    this post had me reading and riveted, I expected that you were going to take some sort of collaboration type approach and I was going to hate it, and right about how much I hate it in this comment box.
    And you did not…you exercised the necessity and entrepreneurial zeal that is felt.

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    whew, glad you did not hate it, Michael! Thanks, Bret

  2. Art Petty says:

    Bret, love the post! There’s little in business I enjoy more than inflicting pain on my competitors through the successful and sustained application of good management and leadership practices.I also respect a good competitor. The good ones help raise everyone’s game a bit.

    I included this post in my Management Week in Review listing. http://bit.ly/eYFCe1

    Thanks for the inspiration and motivation!

    Best, -Art

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    I agree, Art. The good ones make you sharper, and the bad ones deserve to be put out of business. Thanks for including me in your post – it’s an honor! Bret

  3. Clement Odoom says:

    Great post,i am definatley going to share this with my peers as well as my team at work.I called a very greedy person at work because i am very competitive and always want to be number 1.i do this by trying differnt things each day.The issue i come across is my assocites dont want change.

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome, Clement. I think a company should cooperate internally to be more competitive externally. Don’t compete against each other, compete against the business that is working to shut your doors. Thanks! Bret

  4. Neal Ely says:

    Bret, I love the final point you make about exercising, eating right, and getting as much sleep as our bodies need, and also about reading voraciously to keep our minds engaged.

    I get so frustrated when I see people work so hard to be successful in their careers and businesses, but totally neglect their health and their bodies. I have a hard time understanding that! To me, taking care of our bodies and our minds is step #1 to success and satisfaction in life.

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Work to live, not the other way around, Neal. Thanks! Bret

  5. Amber Little says:

    I love this post. Very insightful, creative…and inspiring!

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome, Amber! Thanks for the encouraging words. As you know, it’s not easy to keep content fresh. Thanks! Bret