THE BLOG

5 Ways to Encourage Friendly Competition

02/17/2015 07:56 pm ET | Updated Apr 19, 2015

If you're an entrepreneur working to make a name for your business, chances are good you're aware of your competition. The challenge is to channel that awareness into positive momentum as you grow your brand. Here are 5 tips to get started:

  1. Find your own niche. Identify the strengths and core offerings that make your company or service different from the rest. The world of etiquette is vast, but friend and colleague Karen Hickman has carved out an area she's passionate about...etiquette for medical professionals. Similarly, Sharon Schweitzer specializes in international etiquette. Both have found a way to stand out in an otherwise crowded arena. Don't hesitate to refer business to someone that is competent and highly skilled, in and outside of your field of expertise.
  2. Avoid subversive behavior. Plain and simple - don't bad mouth your competitors. Keep your reputation strong and your conscience clear by staying away from unprofessional gossip. Rather than taking on a divisive relationship, opt to collaborate and form an alliance with industry leaders. Working together and building on each other's strengths is far more powerful, exhibiting executive confidence and goodwill.
  3. Focus on your own agenda. Measuring your success by comparing yourself to someone else may leave you feeling discouraged. Very often what you see is not an accurate version of the full story. Power down on following their Facebook posts multiple times a day and forge ahead on your to do list.
  4. Remain genuinely communicative and friendly. I love knowing there is room for everyone to reach their individual goals. Instead of looking at coworkers and colleagues as "the enemy," reframe your viewpoint. Familiarize yourself with fellow business executives and consider them as valuable resources. Show respect for their hard work and efforts.
  5. Create your own brand. Seek out fresh inspiration outside of your industry to avoid unintentionally copying someone else's design aesthetic. The more original your web presence, the better. Ask yourself how you want to be perceived by potential clients and hire an expert to construct a seamless identity online and in print.

For more of Diane's business etiquette tips, visit her blog, connect with her here on The Huffington Post, follow her on Pinterest and Instagram and "like" The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook.