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A tenacious competitor can seem as daunting as a summer heat wave which won’t break for anything. If that describes your competitive strategy position, it can be difficult to devise an innovative strategy to win new business from a tough competitor.

Competitor Strategy to Lead to Business SuccessThere is a creative way to swat back a competitor, however, which takes its inspiration from another summer reality: mosquitoes. Just as a mosquito, despite its small size, can be a nuisance, you can do the same to a larger competitor!

Start with the profile you have on your competitor which should describe the competitor and its strengths, strategic focus areas, and overall direction. Add to the competitor profile your antagonist’s “dirty little secrets,” i.e. the problems it doesn’t want customers to know about, but are familiar to you within the industry.

Based on the specific intelligence in the competitor profile, start thinking creatively and strategically about how you can bite away at your competitor, generating ideas to really be a nuisance. Don’t worry about practicality; write down anything that comes to mind, no matter how outlandish, which could:

  • Exploit your competitor’s weaknesses and take business
  • Distract the attention of your competitor from its current strategy
  • Be an outrageous or funny claim you could make about the competitor
  • Annoy your competitor in innovative and maddening ways

You can do this exercise by yourself, but as you might have guessed, it’s a lot more fun and yields many more innovative ideas when you do it with a diverse team inside your company. Be sure to include salespeople because they have to directly deal with the competitor every day; that leads to great innovative ideas for winning new business.

After you’re done generating ideas, step back and evaluate how you can pursue the most strategically innovative ideas. Don’t dismiss really outlandish ideas outright. If there’s one idea that spurred laughter or excitement, even if you think it’s a crazy idea, ask how the idea could be made more strategically feasible.

Besides stretching your thinking, this strategy exercise to identify how to be a nuisance to your competitor should generate innovative, implementable strategies to help you compete more successfully and win new business. It should also create a greater sense of competitive surprise, biting the competitor before it even knows it – just like those pesky mosquitoes! – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you develop a stronger competitor profile and create business building strategies to target big competitors more successfully.

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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  • http://nateriggs.com Nate Riggs

    This is a good post Mike. Almost like a lesson in psychological warfare for business. But it is true. I try to make sure I worry less about what my competition is doing, and stay focused on my own objectives, yet I often find myself forming assumptions as to why my competition is making certain decisions, etc. It can be distracting. I never considered using that as a tactic. Interesting…

  • Mike Brown

    Hey Nate – It’s been interesting to look at competition now from both the perspective of large corporations and smaller businesses. In the corporation, we talked a lot about creating our own economy (i.e. making our own growth opportunities), but even with a broad, yet finite competitive set of typically much smaller players, it was very challenging to do it.

    Now as a smaller company, with arguably many more similar-sized businesses who do parts of the same things, I’m much less focused on competition and more oriented toward doing great work and building relationships based on what we do, irrespective of what somebody else is doing.