Competition is one factor that makes public procurement efforts successful though many often view competition as a barrier.

CARRIE HULSEWhen you hear the word "competition," what is your first thought? Competition as it relates to economics and business, courtesy of Wikipedia, is "the rivalry among sellers trying to achieve such goals as increasing profits, market share, and sales volume by varying the elements of the marketing mix: price, product, distribution, and promotion." Economic competition is healthy, reduces excessive pricing, and prevents firms from gaining a monopoly.

Competition is one factor that makes public procurement efforts successful. It is a term we hear regularly in our conversations with business owners, spurring us to write this article. Many often view competition as a barrier, an obstacle, and as a setback. With every challenge comes opportunity, allow us to shine a light on the often-overlooked, positive aspects of competition.

It takes two to tango and it takes more than one to create successful competition. Every business that has ever gone against another in a bid, quote, or a proposal has lost one at some point. The businesses that succeed in the long-term have one thing in common — they learned from that loss and they took a moment to learn from their competitors. All aspects of your business can benefit from an analysis through a competitiveness lens, starting with your company's branding and marketing to your firm's value proposition at large.

Your competition can be your best teacher. By observing a competitor, it is possible to stay informed of key market changes or learn about a market you did not know existed. Learn to analyze not only their successes but also their failures. One of the most valuable tools is to focus on the mistakes your competitor makes and not just the successes; what is it that you could improve upon and what mistakes caused the other business valuable customers. If they are providing a service that appears to be successful, can you make the product or service better?

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