Competitors – ignore them at your peril.

Why do so many SME’s in Kenya care so little about what their competition is up to? Some say they care about it but then don’t monitor competitor activity closely enough. It’s the same thing really.

It baffles me.

I don’t know of any part of business life, sporting life, even high school “dating” where keeping one eye on your competitors is unimportant. Even untrained, undomesticated animals eat their food on high alert, constantly aware of the impending and often unseen danger from their competitors.

Why do they do this? I guess Charles Darwin would be better placed than me to answer this, but he would probably tell us that it is behavioural instinct, passed on through generations of the species. Survival of the fittest perhaps?

So what’s behind this apparent reluctance to track, monitor or assess the impact of competition on future plans? Perhaps many businesses here have become successful by building from nothing and they never really saw the need to incorporate competitor activity into their thinking.

But times are changing and the competitive threat is gearing up continually. Everybody sees opportunity for growth and everybody wants a piece of it.

Last year, a CEO of a mid sized Kenyan business proudly exclaimed to me that he didn’t care what competition was doing. The only important thing was what he and his company was doing. I admired the confidence but not the sentiment.

Being supremely confident in your plans and your performance is a great thing, but don’t ever assume your competitors don’t feel the same way about theirs.

We don’t live in a vacuum and we certainly don’t operate in one. Your brand plans, sales plans and service plans are only likely to succeed through generations if you stay awake to the constant impending, unseen dangers presented by competitors who want a piece of your business.

Failing to keep an eye on your competitors is highly likely to lead to one of them stealing your food, or much, much worse.

Competitors- ignore them at your own peril

Kevin Bertie – Director