Any business, PR or marketing strategy will always refer to your competitors. Some will paint them as the big bad wolves you need to fight to win customers over and make money. Yes, competition is fierce and you will always need to prove you are better in certain ways to keep customers coming your way.

But the truth is having competition is not this huge mass of negativity, something you need to fear. It’s much better to think of your competitors as peers who push you to always be better at what you do. So here are a few instances when your competitors will actually help you out:

1. When You Start off

We would all love to come up with something completely new that no one has ever done before. Invent a new business segment, invent the Internet, something like that. But in most cases, we land into an already existing line of business. What we bring to the table is a new approach or a new method or a better pricing model. Whatever it is, it helps to know what others have already tried, where they are now, what they are offering and what types of customers they are targeting. Yes, this is all part of market research and to put it in very few words, your competitors give you all the details you need to start your business and have a shot at succeeding.

2. When the public needs educating

Every filed requires its players to educate the public about what they should expect, quality standards, best practices and so on. All those who have done business in a certain segment before you have played their part in educating your future customers. Yes, that is not always the best thing they could have done, as any business has its black sheep, but let’s face it, a lot of your competitors have already taken care of a lot of your work.

3. When it comes to policies, regulations and overall legal status of your field

The best example for this situation is the recent lobby group talks between Google, Facebook, Amazon and eBay. These fierce competitors are now joining efforts in establishing the Internet Association which aims to advance web-centric legislation. These Internet giants might be tough to compete against, but just imagine them joining hands. Look at what happened when they too decided to fight against SOPA!

4. Stimulating innovation

The truth is everything will go a lot slower without competition. Having others that target the same market makes us all try harder – innovate in every way possible and help advance every segment in the business world.

Competition should never be ignored. We have to pay attention to what competitors do, what we can learn from them and what we can improve. Yet a lot of people tend to just fear, or despise or ignore those who share the same audience. Yes, you can always lose business to your competition. But you can also gain it if you play your cards right. It’s all about strategic moves, keeping an open mind and moving forward. And let’s face it, we think social media first, and social network names later. We think Internet connection, and then providers. We think books and then publishing houses. And so on. Having a bunch of companies pour money in promoting a certain product or service is far better than fighting on our own. What do you think?

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