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Ray Kroc, the late founder and chairman of McDonald's, said: ''My way of fighting the competition is the positive approach. Stress your own strengths, emphasize quality, service, cleanliness and value, and the competition will wear itself out trying to keep up.'

Are you afraid of your competition? Don't be, if you feel competent in your abilities, feel you are the best at what you do, and take good care of your clients by going above and beyond the call.

You definitely can't afford to ignore your competition, but don't lose sleep thinking about them. As a matter of fact, you should welcome competition.

Without competition, we tend to become complacent.

We start taking things for granted. When we know somebody is waiting to capitalize on our mistakes, we have to be ready. This means working harder to have the best solutions for your clients and treating suppliers with utmost respect to receive the best deals from them to pass on to clients. And, of course, treat staff the way you want to be treated so you receive their full support.

Competition gives you a chance to shine.

In a recent visit to a hair salon, I commented to the owner about the salon directly across the street and how it must be hurting the business.

She said that simply wasn't
the case. ''As a matter of fact, it helps us as we get a lot of customers here to fix their mess-ups!'' The moral: If you are the best, inept competition can bring you more business.

Don't let competition get you off track.

Lots of times, the ''new kid on the block'' enters the market with much enthusiasm. There are lofty goals and aspirations. Initially, they could rock your world by cutting prices or using unethical tactics to grab your clients. Don't regress to their level. Stay the same professional, honest and reliable supplier partner you have always been. It will win the day in the long run.

Always strive to be the best. Keep foremost in your mind how your products or services can help the client succeed. Be a provider of solutions, rather than an order-taker or product-pusher. Do everything you can to differentiate yourself.

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