It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. Sometimes your competitors will gobble you up and spit you out like you just don’t matter to them. And that should come as no surprise. It would be better for them if you suddenly disappeared.
These incentives are leading to some rather unsavory practices in the business world. Many behave themselves. But some have taken to getting down and dirty with the competition. And when the competition is you, it’s not acceptable. Here’s how they’re screwing you over.
Information is as precious as gold dust these days. And it’s not just the hackers in their basements who are after it. Your competitors are too. Just last year, the FBI reported that 50 percent of companies in their survey had been the victim of espionage. Competitors want to know who is on your client list so that they can poach your business for themselves. Now there are even services out there who will do this for a fee, like Byrnes Consulting and Corporate Performance Artists. Apparently, it’s all too easy to see who your customers are on your LinkedIn profile. Once you’ve got the list, it’s just a matter of targeting these people with deals they can’t refuse. If one day you notice you’re mysteriously losing clients, it’s probably because of poaching.
Some competitors go as far as to wiretap another company’s phones. The reason they do this is to gain technical information that could put them at an advantage. For instance, they may be able to find out where a company is planning to open a new outlet or store. Imagine if they did this to you. You thought that you were setting up in an area with a captive market. Then all of a sudden, you find out your competitor is building an outlet next door. How did they know that the best way to screw you over was to build right there?
In this environment, it’s no surprise that many businesses hire their own counter-espionage detective. It’s almost become as run-of-the-mill as outsourcing IT.
They’re Charting You To Death
Have you ever been onto a company website and seen a chart where a company compares itself to the competition? Isn’t it funny how that company always turns out to be the best, no matter what? Here’s the thing about charts: they’re enormously persuasive. Charts with ticks next to all a competitor’s product features and crosses next to yours look very objective. But, of course, it’s the information that isn’t there that really counts. Perhaps your product is more expensive because it is better. Your competitor’s chart isn’t going to show that. Hit back with a chart of your own and let the chart wars begin.
Naughty Advertising Practices
Once upon a time, a pizza restaurant placed an ad in the Yellow Pages. Good move you might think. But then along came another pizza restaurant with another ad. If customers tore out the competitor’s ad from the Yellow Pages and brought it to their shop, they got 25 percent of their pizza.