Why Having An Archnemesis Is Great For Business

Competition is everywhere, and that’s a good thing. Check out this post to see why having a rival is great for your business and even learn some tips on how you can use competition to your advantage.


With so many people in the world, and people being who we are, rivalries are an unavoidable part of life. From elementary school spelling bees to reality TV shows (The Bachelor, anyone?) to even 1940’s musical numbers like “Anything you can do, I can do better,” competition is in more places than you can shake a stick at, and online business is definitely included. But who’s benefiting from it? And how can we make sure we’re using it to our advantage?

Here are five reasons why, with the right attitude, competition is good for your online business:


1. Helps you zero in on your target market

When things start getting crowded in your industry, it can actually help remind you of your ideal customers. Instead of casting a wide, very general net, you’re nudged toward clearly defining your target market and connecting with them in ways you know your competition can’t. Additionally, competition can act as alternatives for customers who aren’t a good fit for your business, so you won’t find yourself trying to cater to low quality leads.

Try some of these tips when defining your target market:

  • Create or revisit your buyer personas and make them a little more specific.
  • Make sure your business is communicating with your ideal customers in ways they use most frequently. If your target market is older, perhaps that means investing more in email marketing, whereas is your target market is younger, it may be time to grow your social media presence.


2. Kicks complacency to the curb

Whether you have someone on your tail or someone you want to catch, your business can’t help but stay energized when there’s competition afoot. This newfound energy can be used to motivate your business to higher standards of customer service or innovation, or even just help keep things interesting.

Keep these tips in mind when using your competition as a motivator:

  • Relish in the challenge! Even if your competitor may have the upper hand at the moment, you can always make a comeback.
  • If you find yourself getting a little too stressed out by their goings-on, feel free to take a break from following them so closely and take some time to refresh your perspective.


3. Keeps you creative

If, in a game of checkers, the player with the black pieces just followed every move the player with the red pieces made, the player with the black pieces would always be one step behind. (They’d also be very frustrating to play with.) Likewise, you know that it’s not enough to just follow everything your competition does. You have to try and see where they’re headed, and cut them off at the pass. And that’s only going to happen with some serious creativity.

If you’re wanting to get those creative juices going, here are some ideas:

  • Try working or brainstorming during your non-preferred hours, meaning night time for early birds and morning for night owls. Turns out, when people are tired, they get more creative.
  • Keep a journal around in case any ideas surprise you. Creativity tends to happen when our minds are disengaged, so stay prepared.


4. Can save you from being the guinea pig

Another benefit to having a rival on your radar is that you can watch them try out new campaigns or tactics, see how they do and adjust your efforts as needed. Although it may seem like a bummer that they implemented the idea first, remember:  It’s the second mouse who gets the cheese. By seeing what doesn’t work for them, you’ll better be able to identify potential dangers or pitfalls your own business may face and give your ideas their best start possible.

Try some of these tips when learning from your competitors’ mistakes:

  • Look at their campaign and pick it apart. Why do you think they chose this route? What were they trying to achieve? What did they do really well? And what didn’t go so smoothly?
  • Take careful tabs on the conversations customers are having about your competition and how they respond. Although their target market probably doesn’t line-up exactly with yours, you can learn some valuable customer service and PR lessons on what not to do.


5. Gets you to work smarter

When faced with competition, businesses will re-evaluate their processes and ways of thinking in order to see where they can cut the fat. Whereas these improvements may otherwise fall by the wayside, competition makes these changes imperative in order to keep up with an evolving market.

Here are some tips on streamlining your business:

  • Keep your employees are satisfied. (Even if it’s just you.) It’s been proven over and over again that happier people are more productive.
  • Make spending wisely a priority. Sometimes businesses fall into the trap of spending money on things that make them feel like they’ve made it, rather than putting the money toward investments that will actually get them there.


Ultimately, although your competition may not be your favorite businesses in the world, they’re helping you up your ante. So don’t be afraid of them! Go ahead and embrace them for what they are, learn everything you can and use them to your advantage.

Happy selling!
-Gracelyn Tan, Volusion


Gracelyn was a Communications Specialist at Volusion. She has a BA in English and Philosophy from Rice University, and when not reading or writing, she's dancing, meeting new people or winning staring contests with her cat.

2 Responses to “Why Having An Archnemesis Is Great For Business”

  1. Gina

    Great article, thanks Grace. I always keep a keen eye on the competition and you’ve given me a few new ideas.

    • Gracelyn Tan

      You’re very welcome, Gina. 🙂 Glad to be of help!


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