Do you find yourself worrying about your competition?
What are you afraid of?
Are you concerned that they might copy you? Or that they might think you are copying them?
Perhaps you are worried that they will take your clients or grow faster than you. Maybe your competition makes you doubt your own abilities and your confidence suffers.
The more you worry about your competition, the more likely you are to fail. You will end up focusing your attention on what other people are doing and not on delivering impact for our clients. You will start to base your decisions on what other people are doing, not on what you do and on what your clients need.
You can end up so worried about the potential harm that others might do your business that you become the one doing the harm!
Here is what I want you to remember when you find yourself sidetracked or distracted by your competitors.
Believe in the law of abundance and don’t let your ego get in the way
Since that is much easier to say than to put into practice every day, I’m going to give you some practical tips for dealing with your worries and developing your confidence.
When you’re worried about others copying your idea
One of the problems with this worry is that it can stop you from sharing your idea and talking about your business. Realistically, unless you can protect your business with an IP, your idea will not be unique. But the way you execute it can be – there is only one you!
So don’t let this worry prevent you from testing your idea and sharing it – that will do much more harm than your competition.
I have actually had experience with people copying my work on two separate occasions. I didn’t handle it well initially so my first advice is not to act when you are angry! Once I passed that emotional stage, I decided to deal with it differently.
But in a few words my message is: Firstly, I believe that if someone needs to copy their competition, then their business probably won’t last very long. So let karma take care of that a little.
Secondly, it is better to reach out and try to build a relationship with your competition. And if they are copying you, try to sort it out from a place of compassion, instead of ego. Ego will only make you see things as worse than they might be. And if there is really a conflict, ego will not help you solve it, it will just make it worse. Stay cool headed if this happens to you so that you can make the right decisions on how to handle it!
When you’re worried that others will think you’re copying them
This often happens as you’re trying to develop your business, grow your skills and learn more about your chosen field. It can hold you back from taking action.
Although this shows how much you care about doing the right thing, it is also a problem for your business.
The first thing you need to do is stop trying to please everyone – including your competition! You need to know what you stand for, what you want to achieve and how you want to run your business. You cannot let what other people think affect you so badly that you don’t do anything at all, or that you act in a way that isn’t aligned with your business values and goals.
Imposter syndrome and competition so often go hand in hand. It is easy for us to believe that someone else can do it better than us. Here is a great resource on dealing with imposter syndrome so that it won’t hold you back!
You also need to remember that your business idea probably isn’t unique but you may do it differently than anyone else.
Being competitive isn’t just about being better – it is about being different. Keep your focus on being as different as you can be, and how that works to attract clients to you rather than what your competition might be saying or doing.
If you want to further explore how you can use your difference to win clients, research is going to be vital. Do some market research to find out what will connect with your potential clients and how you can make a difference to them. There are some great tips in this blog on client surveys.
And yes, you should try to understand what has not worked for your competition – that might be where you want to position yourself and make a difference.
Above all, don’t hold off developing your business because you are worried about what your competitors think of you!
When you are worried that your competitors will steal your client or grow faster
Here is the truth – you need to learn to embrace competition. You actually should be grateful that there is competition for your business. It means that there is a market for your idea. The point is to be different.
If you are in a market where there is no competition at all, you should be worried! It means your idea is not viable.
Competition is also healthy for your own growth and success. Here’s a sports analogy. Some marathon runners use pacers – that’s another runner who runs close to them or next to them to help them keep pace, speed, and focus.
Your competitors are your pacers!
There are two other things I want you to do to help you embrace competition. One is to take the time to build a genuine relationship with your competition:
- You don’t have to share trade secrets but it is much healthier to build respectful relationships with people you admire so that they can help keep you inspired and growing. There may be opportunities to exchange information or address issues such as regulation, that affect both you and your competition. You might even find a professional body for your industry to join so that you can network more with your competition.
- You might even be able to collaborate on shared projects. It is possible to work with someone in the same field as you, particularly when you have different competencies and value propositions. Together you might have the potential for growth!
For example: I work closely with Sundae Schneider Bean, a solutions-oriented intercultural coach, on my Business Idea Accelerator program. While we both work as coaches with expats, we do things in different ways. So we complement each other and have been able to work together very successfully.
Don’t let your ego get in the way!
What should you do instead of worrying about your competition?
At the end of the day, YOU are the main person you should be competing with, not your competition.
It matters how fast you grow against your goals, not how fast your competitors grow. So as long as you can see that you are progressing, growing, learning, increasing your income, building your brand and making an impact, that is what matters. Shifting your mindset to this and away from constantly comparing yourself to others will make a huge shift in how you deal with competition.
Here is another great resource from the world of sport on the benefits of competition:
You also need to switch your focus to what makes YOU unique. To stand out, you need to worry about your own voice and your own brand. To grow in a competitive market, make sure you are focused on who you are and who you want to be in your chosen market.
Be yourself, everyone else is already taken – Oscar Wilde
Stop comparing yourself to others – the one thing your competition cannot do is to be you. So embrace how you are, your power and message and embrace the unique impact only you can make.
Also, if you accept the law of abundance, you know there are plenty of clients to go around.
Not every client is the right fit for you!
Don’t say yes to the ones that aren’t the right fit for you, just because you are worried about the competition (or experiencing FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out!). There’s got to be other alternatives for those who are not the right fit. Imagine the great deal of respect you will get if you actually send a potential client to your competition when you know they are a better fit for them!
Keeping your focus on who you really want to serve and knowing who is your ideal clients will help you differentiate yourself from your competition, but will also be crucial for the sustainability of your business.
Developing the right mindset to become a leader in your market
I have three final pieces of advice to help you develop the right mindset about your competition.
Use them for inspiration and as potential information on your industry and its developing trends. That does not mean you have to copy them or compare yourself to them. Be conscious of what you do observe and make sure you are really focused on what is relevant and useful for you. Try to set your ego aside and just observe without feeling that everything they do is a personal attack on you and your business.
Putting too much focus on your competition gives them more power. You have to be able to keep an eye on them and then walk away and get things done! If it becomes too distracting, then stop following them on social media and checking their newsletters. What you need to be focused on and watching is your customers! How they express their needs, how they react to your offer, how satisfied they are with your performance, what else you can do to improve their experience and grow a stronger relationship with them… This is where you should really be dedicating your time, energy and focus.
If you know why you are doing what you’re doing, you will already be different. Your ‘why’ makes you unique. Figuring out the bigger vision and mission statement behind what you do, will help you grow your business and stay relevant in times of change and challenges.
If you don’t already know what sets you on fire, makes you passionate and drives you forward, then now is the time to figure it out. I promise you it will change everything, including how you feel about competition.