How to Make the Most of Your Competitors’ Slip-ups

How to Make the Most of Your Competitors’ Slip-ups

August 4, 2021

Being involved in business can be fulfilling, satisfying, and empowering. Organizing your teams, setting up the organization to succeed, achieving financial targets. These are the things that make it all worth it.

However, business can also require making tough decisions. In competitive fields, if your competitors take even a slight misstep, your organization must be prepared to pounce on that opportunity. This has to be done in the correct fashion, however, as there is a process involved. 

Successful businesses remain successful by being better than, and beating their competitors. If your opponent is doing something wrong, capitalizing on their mistake is a surefire way to put yourself in a stronger position. 

You won’t automatically benefit from a competitor’s failure though. Your organization has to put in the work to ensure that you can actually make tangible gains as a result of the mistake. Nothing in the business world will just land in your lap. You have to put yourself in the position to succeed. 

Competitive Intelligence


Analyzing Competitor Behavior

The best way to know if your competitor is making mistakes is by analyzing their behavior. You should be aware of how your competitors are operating almost as much as you should be aware of your own operations.  

If you know who your competitors are, and in which areas they are engaged, you can start to consider and analyze their behaviors. 

Remember, information is power. The more information and knowledge you have on your competitors, the better you are prepared to take them on. 

This kind of analysis is useful because you can learn about what your competitors are doing well, too, which is valuable in and of itself. You can use what they’re doing well to understand where your organization can improve, or where you need to be sharper. 

For example, if one of your competitors is getting the best out of a fulfillment center, you may consider upgrading your capabilities in that area to keep up. 

A strong analysis of your competitors will also allow you to see what they’re not doing so well. This is the space in which you can capitalize. In particularly competitive fields, even the smallest advantage over a competitor can make a big difference in bringing in greater revenue. 

Analyzing your competitors and finding their errors has two main benefits: You won’t make the same mistake, having seen your competitor make it, and you can find an opportunity to take advantage of the mistake. 

Everyone wants to take advantage of their competitors’ mistakes, but the first step towards that is analyzing them in detail and understanding their behaviors. Only then, can you identify their weaknesses. 

It’s worth keeping in mind that a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats analysis can be an excellent way of doing this visually. Classic SWOT-style analyses are an often underestimated tool in an organization’s repertoire. 

It’s claimed that human brain processes visual information faster than text. This allows you and your team to analyze it and compare it to your own organization’s SWOT and approach any opportunities both quickly, and with full confidence. 

Combine a SWOT analysis with business process mapping and you’ll find yourself with a clear, visual understanding of where your organization stands alongside its rivals, and how it can best compete.

Competitor Landscape


View it as an Opportunity, Not a Win

You’ve dedicated time to examining your competitors and their activities,and comparing their situation to yours. This process was a success, and you realize that one (or more) of your competitors have made a mistake, or they’re lacking somewhere. Where do you take your organization from here?

The most important thing is that you don’t sit still. Your competitor slipping up is not an immediate win for you, it is an opportunity to win, and you have to treat it as such. Your revenue won’t skyrocket after an opponent’s mistake. You won’t automatically steal all your opponent’s clients when they slip up. 

Ironically, thinking a competitor’s mistake will lead to increased success for your organization without working is a mistake, too.

Consumer satisfaction isn’t going to go up without you working to provide the best service at all times, regardless of what your competitor is doing. At the end of the day, it’s you and your organization’s responsibility to provide a high standard of service to whoever you serve. Know your customer, and know what kind of quality they want and expect from you.

The key factor is to view a competitor slip up as an opportunity which needs taking advantage of, not an automatic success. Your mentality will shape how you approach the situation, so you have to have the right mindset. 

Be Proactive

Acting in a proactive manner is vital. If you’ve completed your analysis phase properly, you may notice your competitor has made a mistake before even they have. If you’re in the right mindset of seeing this moment as an opportunity, then you’ll be prepared to take the right action. 

In the case of a negative news story about your competitor breaking, plan a press release immediately. 

Consider what perception may be being formed in the media about your industry, and be prepared to distance yourself. Whenever you are making a public statement, make sure to stress your own organization’s proud values while keeping a tone which emphasizes positive, noteworthy characteristics of your company. 

This is preferable to focusing on your competitor’s flaws, as you don’t want to be seen as unnecessarily antagonistic. 

Different situations require different actions. If you find that a competitor’s service is receiving overwhelmingly negative coverage, you have to be prepared to change your approach in case you were considering a similar action. Use public opinion and reaction wisely, listen to the market and you will learn a lot of useful information which can contribute to your organization. 

Another situation may arise where your research may highlight that ecommerce automation, for example, is the next major trend in your industry. While analyzing your competitor you may find that this isn’t something that’s on their radar at all. 

If you act proactively, you can implement it into your organization before your competitor has even considered it. Suddenly, you’ve staked your claim as the best in your industry because you’re aware of industry trends while your competitor is left behind, and you’re staying ahead of them. 

Such is the nature of business. It’s a competitive field, and you have to work proactively to capitalize on your competitor’s weaknesses and errors so that you can improve your own organization. If you have the chance to implement the best RPA tools available on the market before your competitors, for example, you have to make the most of that opportunity.

Jack Ma On Competitors


Learn From Their Mistakes

Capitalizing on a competitor slip up doesn’t just have to mean swooping in, taking visible, public action, and winning a lot of revenue over—as much as that may seem attractive.

A measured, calculated approach can also be the wisest one. Regardless of whether your competitor’s slip up is heavily noticed and garners media attention, or if it’s something your team caught while doing due diligence, there will be knowledge to be gained.

With the benefit of hindsight, you can see what went wrong with your competitor’s campaigns, initiatives, and more. Not only can you learn from this to avoid the same mistakes, but you can one-up them and use the knowledge to better your own organization’s techniques. That alone is a great benefit. 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in ecommerce, human resources, or anything in between. Take every chance you can to learn from others to better yourself.

In regards to larger issues such as PR failures and crisis management slip ups, you can look at what PR efforts were effective and which didn’t go down well with the press and public, and adjust your own organization’s plans to deal with a potentially reputation-damaging event. 

If you’ve seen that certain kinds of statements and actions were not well received when your competitors used them, then you should strongly reconsider whether you should include them in your emergency plans or not. 

While you may feel that focusing on your own organization is the best way to operate, the truth is that there is so much to learn from your competitors, especially their mistakes. Some of their slip ups are easily avoidable. If you can avoid a mistake with very little effort, just by analyzing your competitor, then there’s inherent value there.


When you think of the phrase “capitalizing on your competitor’s slip up”, you may be inclined to think about dramatic, drastic action that will revolutionize your organization. The truth is that you can take advantage of their mistakes in many more ways. 

A competitor’s mistake can lead to your organization gaining a wealth of knowledge on what works and what doesn’t in your industry. With competition always strong, the more you know about your industry the better. 

Other times, a competitor’s mistake can lead to innovation and calculated risk-taking within your own organization, leading to a potential for a great amount of growth, too. 

Ultimately, the important thing to remember is that your competitor’s errors are opportunities for your organization. Business is about making the most of opportunities to create the best possible results, and if that comes at the expense of your rival, then the gap between you will grow and you’ll taste even more success. 

Analyze, take advantage of opportunities, be prepared to act proactively, and you’ll find there’s room for growth in any industry.


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