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Could You Debate Your Biggest Competitor?

September 28, 2016

Business wisdom, inspiration and advice for women entrepreneurs and small business owners

The stage was set with deep hues of red and blue with words from our constitution on the backdrop. At the podiums stood two people there to represent their views and shed light on the difference between their platforms. 84 million people were watching. If I asked you to close your eyes for one moment and envision yourself at one of the podiums, not as a politician but as a woman entrepreneur opposite your toughest competitor, how would you feel? Your heart might be pumping, your hands shaking, and the lights from above warming your head. You glance out to the moderator and a semi-friendly audience and the microphone turns on. Are you ready?

For an hour and a half would you be able to make your case for why someone should choose to do business with you over the other person? Would you talk about your strengths or their weaknesses? Could you easily pronounce your life’s mission, passion and examples of leadership? Would you be prepared to answer questions about the things you have done wrong in business over the years without being flustered. In the end, could you summarize the distinct differences between you and your opponent?

Women entrepreneurs don’t often think about competition in business like political foes facing off for the ultimate job. Often we are so busy working on our own companies we forget to look at our competition as if it would sidetrack us or crush our spirit. It’s probably because we are women and we tend to look at the positive side of business opposed to the negatives aspects. But if there is one thing that is useful as an entrepreneur, it is conducting a competitive analysis of similar businesses once a year so we know where we stand with our audience – the marketplace.

Entrepreneurship is not about having a ‘pie in the sky’ outlook thinking our way is the only way and anyone who likes us will continue to support us. It’s about having a realistic perception of who we compete against for money in order to sharpen business plans, action calendars and marketing. If there is one thing this election cycle has taught me it’s to better define the difference between my organization and others for the benefit of all.

swotToday’s Wednesday Wisdom should inspire you to do the same. How long has it been since you’ve prepared a S.W.O.T (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) analysis between you and other companies like yours? Think about what you could learn and how you could shape your thinking and goals if you had to stand across from them on a stage knowing this information and then setting yourself apart. It takes “preparation” and focus but the end result could swing a customer’s vote.

I encourage you between now and Election Day, to not only register to vote and then vote, but to perform a S.W.O.T. test of your own. I hope once it’s done you win the marketplace’s vote!

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