The saying is “competition is the life of trade,” and this saying is true, or it would not have endured so long.
If it were not for competition we should be living in the woods in a state of savagery.
One day a savage discovered that while the skins of animals were hard to eat, they nevertheless made a good body covering. Another discovered that if the skins were tied about him it left his arms free to act. This man was the first tailor. He punched holes in the skin and tied the rude garment together with strips of skin. This first tailor was quite an important man among his fellows on account of his great discovery.
Some of these wild men were fleet of foot and had well developed cunning. They became expert hunters. On the other hand some of the less active, by the law of compensation, became more expert tailors, so trade was formed. The hunter killed enough for himself and the tailor, while the tailor made clothes for both of them.
In these days the woodsman lived on animals and the plainsman on vegetables mostly. So the woodsman traded skin clothing with the plainsman for grains and herbs, and this marked the birth of commerce.
Then dugouts and canoes were built, and thus our ancestors crossed lakes and seas and developed maritime commerce.
From away back in those dark ages up to the present time competition has stimulated mankind and spurred him on towards better conditions. The whole human race has benefited by each improvement which competition has brought about.
We have in mind a certain mail order house that up to 1894 had things its own way. Then it sold two to three million dollars worth of merchandise annually. A competitor came into the field, stirred things up, and now the old mail order house is doing eight to ten times as much business per annum as they did before they had the competition.
In the matter of competition we must early learn not to worry over competition, but to derive as much good from it as possible.
If a competitor does something better than you do, do not kick or protest, but jump into the band wagon and do the thing as well or better than he does it.
Price cutting is the simplest and most common phase of competition, but a better way to get advantage over your competitor is to improve your business by cutting off wastes and leaks, and reducing fixed and fancy charges so you can give your customers more quality and more quantity for the money.
In proportion as you increase the value you give for a dollar, just so you will find it easier to get the dollar.
Do not regard competition as hurtful to your business, but rather look upon it as a pace-maker for you.
If you had ten experts working for you studying how to improve your business you would certainly get benefit from it, but probably not enough benefit to offset the great cost of hiring these ten experts.
On the other hand, if you have ten competitors who are sitting up nights studying how to improve their businesses, you can get the benefit of their experience without it costing you anything.
The world is big and there is room for all, but old compensation says the prizes are given to the fittest.
If you are a laggard, if you are on the defensive instead of on the aggressive, get busy, wake up, do it now.