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Business is not a race.

It’s not a competition to see who sells the most, who makes the most money or has the most followers on Twitter. Business is about providing something that other people need and want. It’s about fulfilling that need to the best of your ability and creating the best product or service that you can.

We need to stop competing in order to start winning.

The internet and social media have made it so easy for us to keep track of what our competitors are doing. We can follow them, like them, Google them and bookmark them. We can follow their every move, read every blog post about future collections, their inspiration and their customers.  But sometimes too much information can be harmful and it’s easy to waste valuable time focusing on competing with others. Whilst it is important to keep up to date with what other people are doing in your industry, if your main strategy is to beat the competition you will never be a winner. There will always be someone, somewhere doing what you want to do and doing it better. Maybe they have more money to invest, better connections, more time, more knowledge. Whatever the reason, it’s clear we can’t compete with everyone and really do you want to?

It’s time to be leaders, not followers.

Focus your energy on your products and services and making them the best you can. Instead of looking at products that are selling for other people and trying to create something similar, seek out inspiration in unlikely places, work on your products from the perspective of your customers. Put your customers first and not your competitors.

It is essential that consumers have a choice, so competition in that sense is needed. Create a product that no-one wants and you won’t have a business. Create a product for the sole reason of outdoing your competitors regardless of whether anyone wants it is a costly waste of time.  If you are spending more time on watching what your competitors are doing and trying to follow their path rather than actually working on your business, you won’t ever grow and move forward.

At school there were two types of students. Those that kept their heads down and worked hard to achieve their personal best and those that were so focused on how well everyone else was doing they ended up forgetting what they were there for. The ones that followed their own path of achievement were happier and more successful. The ones who were focused on what everyone else were doing were unhappy and never felt good enough. I know which group I would rather be in.

Competition is not an ugly word. It’s ok to want to be the best at what you do but to ensure happiness and continued success you need to carve out your own path.

It’s only when we let go of competing that we have the time, energy and focus to start winning.