Within any industry, there are several businesses all competing with one another for the lion’s share of the market. The higher the amount of market share you own, the more successful you are and the greater your profits. But, unless you create a monopoly effect (which is neither ethical nor easy) then you’re always going to have competitors snapping at your heels.
That raises the question of how aware of your competitors you should be and whether you should waste a lot of your time watching what they’re doing and monitoring their actions.
For sure, if you want to be a successful business, you need to be aware of who your competitors are, what they’re doing, and you need to make sure that you’re doing something different, something which gives value to your customers. You need to offer them something which nobody else is, and that’s why they will choose you. Of course, you also need to make sure that your customer service is second to none and that your marketing endeavors are top class. All in all, that is what makes a business successful.
But, that doesn’t answer the question of how much of an eye you should be keeping on your competitors.
What you shouldn’t do is become so preoccupied with watching what they’re doing, that you forget to improve your own service. Focus on what you’re doing and keeping your customers happy. You will find out if your competitors are doing anything radically different - you don’t need a spy mission to find that out! Of course, keep an eye on their actions and if you can, the share of their market, but you don’t need this to be a constant thing. Perhaps checking in periodically, every couple of months maybe.
It really depends on how close you are in terms of niche and how competitive you need to be. Some industries just aren’t as competitive as others. The best advice is to focus on yourself and to keep developing and improving your service to give your customers and your employees the best experience. By doing that, you don’t really need to waste your time watching someone else - you’ll go one better than them by simply focusing upon the right things.
While it’s easy to become totally obsessed with what another business is doing, it won’t serve you well. Keep your eye on the prize - your own prize!