The Matt Edmundson Way to Spy on Your Business Competition Legally and Without Obsession
We all do it. Research the competition. It’s necessary. Especially in the fast paced, ever-changing world of ecommerce. We need to see what other companies are out there right now, offering the same services as us, occupying areas of the market we want to grow into. Having a clear understanding of what our competitors offer, and the gaps in the market, will help us to offer the best service possible to our customers. Knowing our competition is what will set us apart from our competitors.
But there’s a way to research the competition – legally and without becoming so obsessed with what everyone is doing our own business suffers. Matt Edmundson knows all about this. With over a decade’s experience of running ecommerce businesses, generating over $50m of worldwide sales for over 6m customers, Matt has developed the Mastery 2017 course to share the lessons he has learned through his experiences, and teach businesses how to thrive in the world of ecommerce.
Is competition healthy in business?
Perhaps, the wrong question. Because the simple answer is, like it or not, there is competition in business. And actually, if you’re starting a company where there is no competition, and none on the horizon, chances are you won’t have much of a customer base either. As they say, there is ‘nothing new under the sun’.
So we need to make competition a healthy thing, something that works for us, a positive for our company. Matt Edmundson talks about this as learning to watch what other people do, in order to understand what works for you, so your business can thrive. Some companies make the mistake of holding up a mirror to reflect on their performance. In actual fact, the best way to gauge your success of your company is to analyse it against your competitors, in the context of the wider marketplace.
In his online course, Mastery 2017, Matt will take us through a series of steps to understand how we can channel competition in a healthy way, to get a better overall response for our company in the marketplace, using his specific knowledge of ecommerce.
When we learn to shift our mindset to seeing competition as a healthy tool for growth, we begin to unlock the benefits of healthy competition, that it can:
- Teach us the biggest lessons – when we are equipped with the tools to compare the competition and to put the information we learn into practice
- Keep us on our toes – complacency is one of the biggest killers of ecommerce. We need to constantly improve and respond to the changing needs of our customer base. If we don’t, our competitors will.
- Help us exploit industry trends – learning to evaluate our competitors is one of the best market research tools at our fingertips. When we see what methods our competitors are using to succeed, and indeed where they are failing, we can see what could work for our business.
How can I make competition work for my business?
The key to making competition work for your business is having the tools to learn from your competitors. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves with our competitors, becoming obsessed with how they are doing, what they are doing and how it measures up to our performance. This path only leads to playing catch up. How can my business be as good as the competition?
Matt Edmundson, in Mastery 2017, provides the tools to approach competition for success. For example, Matt will lead you through a session on making sure your Home Page is doing all it should for your business to thrive. Matt uses his considerable expertise in designing successful ecommerce sites to show you how you can use a study of competitors sites to glean the gems that will work for your company. Far from copying your competitors, or playing catch-up, Mastery 2017 will guide you through the process of cherry-picking the successes of your competitors, to ensure your own business thrives.
Understanding how to spy on your competition legally, and without obsessing, can help you:
Differentiate what you offer – by understanding what your competitors offer, you can see your unique strengths and how you can stand out in the market place
Prioritise customer needs – learning how to approach competition from the eyes of your customers, you can see their needs that are and aren’t being met by your competitors and how you can improve your service
Become more self-aware – often it’s only when we see how easy or difficult it is to navigate a competitor’s ecommerce site that we realise the flaws in our own.
Spying on the competitors legally without becoming obsessed
In his online course, Matt Edmundson uses his vast experience of the world of ecommerce to teach you how your business can thrive. Understanding your competitors is just one building block in a wider strategy of success. By placing the information we can learn from our competitors in context, we begin to see that it is a part, not the whole. This will stop us from becoming obsessed with what our competitors are doing, instead focusing only on how that knowledge can help improve our business.
Competition is a healthy thing, if we understand how we can use it for good! Competition:
- Can foster innovation – some of the greatest inventions have come from someone seeing the competition and realizing there was a better way to do things
- It can make you work faster and smarter – knowing we are competing with others keeps our energy and focus up
- Puts customers first – healthy competition will make you continually ask that vital question – what does our customer need and how can we be the ones to provide for that?
- Is a way to learn from others’ mistakes – learning to understand your competitors means you don’t have to make the same mistakes they have.
Matt Edmundson has over a decade of learning experiences to draw on and share with you in his online course, Mastery 2017. By learning how to make competition a healthy tool, rather than making negative comparisons, Matt has developed successful ecommerce businesses, such as Jersey Beauty Company, and has generated over $50m of sales for over 6m customers worldwide. Matt wants to share his experience and expertise with you, so you can put the proven tools Matt has learned into practice and see your ecommerce business thrive.
The Mastery 2017 online course has limited places. In order that you get the most out of the course, Matt has requested we limit the course to 50 participants. Be one of them and see your company transformed.
You can sign up here:
The two main types of conflict, healthy and unhealthy, have several identifiable characteristics. An excellent definition taken from the Small Business Chronicle Houston states that “Healthy conflict builds team bonding by causing those involved to change their attitudes and grow personally. It also results in problem resolution due to increased involvement of all affected team members. This contrasts with unhealthy conflict where team morale is destroyed and team members become divided and polarised. Unhealthy conflict leaves the problem unresolved, and leaches resources and energy from the core project at hand.”
There are many ways to encourage healthy conflict and debate in your organisation. Human resources expert, Susan Heathfield* shares ten really practical ways to make this happen. They are summarised below:
10 ways to encourage healthy conflict in your organisation:
Make sure you set clear expectations to encourage healthy conflict. This should be part of your company culture.
Reward, recognise, and thank people who are willing to take a stand and support their position. It is often scary to express an opinion which is different from that of the group. Make sure everyones opinion is respected and valued, even if you don’t agree.
If you experience little dissension in your group, look at the way you communicate. If you want to avoid “group think,” but this isn’t happening, do you, non-verbally or verbally, send the message that it is really not okay to disagree? Do you make employees feel uncomfortable when they express an opinion, particularly one that is different to your own? It might be worth asking a trusted member of your core team for some feedback if you are unsure.
Expect people to support their opinions and recommendations with data and facts. Are staff members are encouraged to collect data that will illuminate the process or problem?
Create a group norm that conflict around ideas and direction is expected and that personal attacks and bullying are not tolerated. Group norms are the relationship guidelines or rules group members agree to follow. They often include the expectation that all members will speak honestly, that all opinions are equal, and that each person will participate.
Provide employees with training in healthy conflict and problem solving skills.
Look for signs that a conflict about a solution or direction is getting out of hand. Exercise your best observation skills and notice whether tension is becoming unhealthy. Listen for criticism of fellow staff members, an increase in the number and severity of “digs” or putdowns, and negative comments about the solution or process. Are secret meetings increasing?
Hire people who you believe will add value to your organisation with their willingness to problem solve and debate. Behavioural interview questions will help you assess the assertiveness of your potential employees.
Make bonuses dependent upon the success of the organisation as a whole as well as the accomplishment of individual goals. Pay senior members of the organisation part of their compensation based on the success of the company. This ensures that people are committed to the same goals and direction. They will look for the best approach, the best idea, and the best solution, not just the one that will benefit their own area of interest.
If you are using all of the first nine tips, and healthy work conflict is not occurring you need to sit down with the people who report to you directly and with their direct reporting staff and ask them why. Some positive, problem solving discussion might allow your group to identify and rectify any problem that stands in the way of open, healthy, positive, constructive work conflict and debate.
You can read her full article, including examples here
Another essential area that determines the success of any business is the team. I believe the power behind any great company, including an e-commerce company, is its team. You don’t loose this fact just because your shopfront is online. The team might look different to a traditional team – but you still need a great team!
Hire for culture, not necessarily competence
Building the right team is essential and that involves finding the right people that are aligned with your company culture and have the necessary skills. Competence is the first thing that people usually look at when hiring new team members. And all the documents required in a traditional hiring process, such as cv and covering letter, are geared around proving how competent you are at a job. Don’t get me wrong, people do have to be competent but that’s not the only aspect to look at, it’s important to get the culture right as well. Sometimes the right person is not always the most competent person. Be sure to focus on the culture aspects of your business throughout the application and interviewing stages to help you find the right people for the role.
Remember, when you first start out a lot of the roles and responsibilities will fall on you, so you have to wear the right hat at the right time. But you need to determine which roles need to be hired based on what kind of business you are trying to build.
Where is the area of greatest weakness?
Don’t hire on jobs you don’t like to do. Hire on jobs that should be done by someone else better than you. Also, be creative with job titles and avoid the word ‘manager’ whenever possible!
In any e-commerce business every member of staff is/or should behave as if they are customer-facing in some way. Therefore there is a need to maintain internal trust relationships with sales staff in order to enhance the trust relationship with the customer. E-commerce businesses cannot afford for internal trust levels to fall too dramatically, as poor trust relationships may start to affect the customer experience. The customer-facing employees need to be able to positively represent the decisions of senior managers to customers, not disown them or even sympathise with customer complaints.
In my next blog post I’ll discuss some ideas around conflict in teams and how to navigate in difficult times.
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Wow, what a busy week we’ve had! Hopefully you have also had a productive and fun (!) week. Now sit back, take five minutes and have a read of my weekly roundup of e-commerce news and insights….
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