Taking Control Of Your Competition

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Wondering if the new wellness center around the corner will pick off your customers? You shouldn’t be.

checking out competitionChances are pretty good you need to be focusing on your game, not theirs.

Checking Out the Competition?

We’ve heard recently from folks worried about competition from new big-box gyms, plus weight-management programs worried about Weight Watchers’ employer programs and Curves.

Most health and wellness businesses are doing unique and innovative things that set them apart.  They don’t need to lose a minute of sleep over the big guys.

The real risk is that they’ll start copying the other guys, lose what makes them special, and CREATE a new competitor that otherwise wouldn’t have existed.

That’s because the vast majority of business owners think about competition the wrong way.  They believe that competition happens to your business as a result of external factors that you don’t control.

Sometimes that’s true.  But for most health and wellness businesses, competition usually results from decisions YOU make and actions that YOU take, not from the decisions and actions of others.

How can you avoid competition from the big guys?  It’s simple.  Make different decisions and take different actions.  If you choose to match a rock-bottom price, mirror their operating hours, copy their ad campaigns, and offer identical services delivered and priced the same way, you’re CHOOSING to make them your competitor.

The Potential Competitor Risk Assessment Tool

This tool helps you assess the risk of competition from a new health or wellness business.  A couple of things to keep in mind:

  • You won’t have confidential data for the other business.  Just make an educated guess.
  • The devil is in the details. Be very specific as you answer each question. You may both offer membership programs, but that doesn’t automatically make you competitors.
  • There aren’t right or wrong answers to these questions.  The key is to understand where your business resembles the potential competitor’s business, and where your business differs, in detail.  Then commit your energies to preserving those differences.

Interpreting Your Answers

Fewer than five “yes” answers

You probably don’t need to worry about competition from the other business. Your wellness business has different objectives and is providing different services to different customers, using different sales, marketing and hiring strategies.

5 – 7 “yes” answers

It’s possible that your business interests have some overlap with the other business. However, the extent of competition is probably relatively minor. Stay focused on what’s worked for your business so far. The risk here is that you’ll inadvertently INCREASE the level of competition by starting to mimic what they do rather than sticking to your knitting.

8 – 12 “yes” answers

You’re at risk of making business decisions that force you into head-to-head competition with the other business. Revisit your business strategy and marketing plans. Emphasize what makes your business unique in the eyes of your customers. Know the distinctive strengths and capabilities of your business. Avoid mimicking their strategies.

13+ “yes answers

It’s highly likely that the other business is a direct competitor. Unless you find a way to differentiate your business, your customer base is at risk. Businesses who directly compete often find themselves simply “swapping” customers – in other words, Business A wins a customer from Business B, but Business B wins a customer from Business A. Price wars often erupt in this situation.