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Howard Mann wrote a short but insightful book called ‘Your Business Brickyard.’ untitled (2)There’s an excellent section on competition, that’s relevant to businesses of all shapes and sizes.

‘Obsessing about your competition, trying to match their offerings, spending time each day wanting to know what they are doing, and/or measuring your company against them – these activities have no great or winning outcome.’

Mann’s point is that every minute thinking about what the competition is up to is time not spent developing the relationship you have with your customers – ‘you block your company from finding its own identity and engaging with the people who pay the bills.’


Recruitment consultants and management consultants seem particularly prone to obsessing about the competition. It’s probably the same in most of the professional services; particularly where there are more than one firm working in a large account. Firms even hold back their best material for their website or LinkedIn pages in case their competition get hold of it or it gives them insights.

If the relationship with the customer is strong enough and the deliverables are being achieved, it hardy matters what the competition are up to.

There’s a quote from an executive at Netscape: ‘what I realise now is that you can never, ever take your eye off the customer….Even in the face of massive competition don’t think about the competition. Literally don’t think about them.’ (from Howard Mann ‘ Your Business Brickyard.’