By Diana Clark

People always assume that competition is a destructive force that is created to destroy you and your business. Competition has this bad name connected with playing dirty tricks and mind games just to get ahead and have more sales. While that can be true in certain situations, more often competition is much needed and necessary. Think about it, if there was no competition, how much would a Smartphone be right now? Or, if Ford Motor Company was the only car company, they could charge as much as they want and still be selling cars.

Competition is what pushes us forward, makes us create a better product for a lower price and even if you are dealing with a small business, there are still ways you can deal with your small business competitors and you can do it honestly.

1. Make a Business Connection

It’s simple, really. If you have a business in one specific niche, unless you are living on the Moon, there will be someone close by that is somehow connected to your business. You can strike a deal that can be mutually beneficial. For example, if you are very good at writing books, have the knowledge, know how to tell a wonderful story but your publishing skills are not perfect – you can find someone that can help you with the publishing of your book and offer them a piece of the pie if the job is successfully completed. This way, you can pay only after the result has come.

2. Never Ignore the Competition Around

Makes sense, right? But so many people ignore their competition hoping that if they do not think about a “problem,” it will solve itself. It could be true, but it won’t just because you have been ignoring it. Do the opposite think about the competition, study your competitors and see what are they doing and they are about to do. Sometimes you can copy their actions (if you do – make sure it is legal as you can have big troubles if you do It dishonestly).

No matter how smart you think you are, there is always someone that knows a bit more or has a different information – keep your eyes and ears open, especially if someone has been in the business longer than you. They have the experience and you can learn and grow. Even if they have a smaller business than yours – do not make the mistake of underestimating them.

3. Follow Your Own Idea

It was previously mentioned that you can copy actions – yes, it is true but do not overdo it. You want to make your own mark in the business world, instead of just copying a bigger cat. Laws are everywhere and you need to be smart with them.

Follow your idea and your heart. It is corny, but that is what it makes it so true. No one else will have your passion and determination to be pursuing your idea. You can take a few pointers from a mentor or even a competitor, but the core of your product must be your own. That would be the reason that drives you and makes you work long hours and not coming up with excuses.

Also, this way you will create your own business identity and people will recognize it and purchase it. In the book example from before – is there someone who has your ideas and stories in their head? No, they are unique.

4. Play a Fair Game

Sometimes it is hard and you get the easy way out. Sometimes your competitors are taking the dirty path. This is a part of the business. You should stay away from it as far as possible. Let’s say that your competitors have done an unspeakable act and they have stolen your idea – it happens, especially when we are not careful with what we share. Can they do it the same way as you? If you tell them what your book is about, will they write the same story? Definitely not. Manners and integrity are two forgotten qualities but they are always in play. The truth will sooner or later appear and the customer will know it eventually. Even if they have gone down with your competitors, in the end no one likes liars and cheaters, so they will come back. You need to be open-minded. Don’t take it personally – take the high road and the result will come.

5. Think Differently

Give the customers a good reason for choosing you. Why should they do that? What are the qualities that set your product apart from the rest out there? If you start with honesty and integrity you cannot go wrong. But that is only the beginning. What should follow is a quality product and a good customer service. People want to be special and you should recognize that with your service.