Friday, June 13, 2008

Organic Growth for Your Business

More wisdom from the garden --

How do you deal with competitors? Competitors are like weeds in a garden. They can overwhelm your flowers and vegetables -- sucking the nutrients and water away and stunting the growth of the good stuff.

How do I deal with weeds? I don't like weeding, so I've set up a system to deter more weeds. In my garden, after digging up and disposing of the early weeds, I put down newspapers in my paths and cover them with cedar mulch or straw. In the beds where the flowers and vegetables grow, I put down grass clippings. When I see a new weed, I pull it up.

What does this have to do with a business? Simple. When you're confronting competitors or other potentially distracting and destructive forces, you need a systematic method for dealing with them. You need to read about potential competitors and have a plan for how to deal with them. You must stay aware of the ones that exist or are sprouting up and infringing on your space.

You can make a map of the competitive landscape. It can contain attributes or benefits or price. Put your competitors on the map. Put your company on the map and see where you fit. Figure out how you are different and how to appeal to consumers and customers in a unique way.

If your business can grow in an area that is reletively free from competitors -- because it's in a clear spot (or niche) by itself, you have a better chance for success. Apple has done this repeatedly. Its products are clearly in a market niche all by themselves, even though they compete in a very full and competitive marketplace.

How have you positioned your business in the marketplace? Is it a good spot?
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