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Talking About Competitors

When is it okay to talk about competitors how should you talk about them?

When I worked at Quotium Technologies I ran a blog that discussed industry issues in the web load testing industry. It may have been the first vendor blog in the industry. I quite often mentioned my competitors in the blog, Quotium was new to the American market, and so discussing the company's name along with competitors increased the chances of being considered by customers, which as a new entrant into the market was something that was only slowly starting to happen. I interviewed industry experts for the blog, who would quite often mention competitors in their interview. It helped establish the credibility of the blog, and place the company at the same level as other competitors.

Now the dominant competitors in an industry will not want to mention a competitor, especially a new entrant. And a company that dominates their market will probably not have to answer too many questions about competitors while customers and industry commentators will compare followers. When the issue of competition is broached, how should you talk about competitors?

Continuing the start up theme, Dharmesh Shah at OnStartups.com wrote these tips for discussing competitors at a startup:

Tips For Talking About Competitors

1) Accept That You Have Competitors:
2) Be Careful With Criticisms:

When criticizing use the following filters:
- Is The Weakness Relevant?
- Is the Weakness Hard To Fix?

3) Consider Alternatives and Substitutes:
4) Demonstrate Diligence:
5) Identify Future Competitors:

What I found interesting about this post was the comment discussion, where a number of people discussed the importance of competitive analysis and keeping a sound head when it comes to your competition, in synopsis one lesson I took away was that its important to realize your competitor's strength's as well as weaknesses as that will help you to be competitive.

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