In 27 days, the 2010 Winter Olympic athletes will compete to be the best in the world. Entrepreneurs compete for a similar pinnacle of success every single day. This series of blogs will countdown to the Olympics with 31 ideas about what it takes to achieve gold in your business.
To be an Olympic-level entrepreneur, you need to know your competition. Really well.
The Olympics are rarely the first time that competing athletes will encounter each other. There might be regional games or world games or sport-specific tournaments so athletes will frequently compete with each other prior to the Olympic games. They take this experience and combine it with scrutiny of footage from a competitor’s previous competitions. Using this knowledge, Olympic athletes can understand where their competitors are weak, where they are strong, and possibly pick up pointers for improving their own performance. Without a doubt, they know their top competitors by face and by name and when they meet on the field at the Olympics, they can list the strengths and weaknesses of every key competitor.
Olympic-level entrepreneurs can do the same thing. To do this successfully, they first need to know who their competitors are (and it’s not always as clear-cut as one might think). Then, they need to set aside time weekly (or, better yet, daily) to scrutinize competitors: What do they offer? How is it the same and how is it different? Where are their strengths? Where are their weaknesses? Why do customers hire their services? What frustrates their clients? Truly successful Olympic-level entrepreneurs should know more about their competitors than their competitors know about themselves!
And how does an Olympic-level entrepreneur use this information? In the same way as most Olympic athletes: There’s no trash-talking or mud-slinging; they meet as honorable competitors on the field, each wanting to give their very best to win, each intending to be relentless, and each respectful of the other as a worthy opponent. And the one who knows themselves AND their competitors has the definite edge.