Lesser of two evils
That’s the thing with business – you always need to make sure you know what the consequences may be. Don’t get me wrong, we all make mistakes. Some of them really silly ones. But I found throughout my business career so far, that consequence and a possible chain reaction are frequently not considered enough. Let's call it a necessary analysis of all the possible outcomes.
Let me give you an example. Say, your competitor is doing something you are unhappy with – they brought a product similar to yours to the market or they stepped on your toes by encroaching on your territory. Like all human beings, we automatically get defensive. The first three stages of grief come to mind – shock, disbelief and anger. You want to act. You NEED to act. You lash out on social media, tell your friends and family about how upset you are. You tell your followers about how disgraceful the situation is. How very unfair. But the failure comes in not analysing what outcomes opposing the situation may actually have. Because what if there was a very appealing silver lining in what your competition was doing? What if their actions worked in your favour by promoting your product or by emphasising the quality of what you have to offer? What if, instead of getting angry, you’d harvest it and use it to your advantage?
But the damage is done. You did get angry. You did tell everyone just HOW angry you are. And trust me – your competitor knows that. They are now at the advantage. They may choose to anger you further or, depending on circumstances, to protect their interests and look for other avenues. And be sure of this – these avenues will have more deeming effect on your business than the initial action would ever have.
So take a deep breath and think it through first. Perhaps even reach out to the other company to let them know that they have done something that you consider wrong. They may not even realise. Being passive aggressive is rarely ever a solution.