We’ve all been there. Checked out our competitors, and worried about how they have a higher Instagram following than us. Wondered how they rank higher than us on Google. Been concerned by something new that’s popped up, and something that appears to be so much more popular than us. And the result? The dreaded Imposter Syndrome starts to creep in, we doubt ourselves, and start to hide away. This means that learning to acknowledge our competition, but not worry about them, is crucial. So, how do you stop worrying about your competition?

Competition is a good thing

This might seem like a strange place to start for a blog post about how to stop worrying about the competition. But actually, it’s important that we acknowledge that competition can, in many ways, be a good thing. But why is this? Well, here are a few reasons:

  • Our competitors can be used as a positive motivator to drive our own businesses forward
  • Seeing how our competitors do things – both the good and the bad – can be an invaluable source of learning
  • Competion within a given industry is important from the customer perspective – and when a customer chooses us, it gives us a big confidence boost!

Competition in business is a blessing, for without it, we wouldn’t be motivated to improve.

Nabil N.Jamal

Collaboration, not competition

Some people say that there’s no such thing as competition. I don’t think that’s true. If someone runs a business very similar to yours, they are your competition. And it’s that fact that makes us worry. However, the most important word here is ‘similar’. Not ‘same’.

But why is the choice of word here important?

Because no two businesses are identical or ‘the same’. Their brands are different. Their values and approach are different. And the same is true of the business owner and staff. You might sell the exact same bag as someone else in your town, but how you sell it is different. The relationship you build with your customer will be different.

This means that instead of always viewing our competitors in a negative light, try looking at them as potential collaborators! For example, if you’re a coach, and you come across a potential client that isn’t quite right for you, rather than just let them go, how about referring them to someone else in your field who could be better placed to help? That way, you leave the customer with a more positive experience, and the other coach may well return the favour one day! The same is true of people who have similar expertise. Instead of you both offering separate workshops, why not combine your voices and work together, creating something so much more powerful?

This is also exactly why we don’t restrict membership of our community or attendance at our events to one member per industry or profession. Instead, we encourage clients to recognise and embrace their uniqueness, and in doing so, provide mutual support to each other.

So how do you stop worrying about your competition?

1) Acknowledge and get to know them

SWOT analysis template

This is an important step because a) they aren’t going anywhere and b) doing some competitor analysis can be a really useful way of not only finding out how they do things, but also to understand more about why your own business is different. A simple SWOT Analysis can be a really useful tool here.

Just complete one analysis for your own business, and then one for your key competitors, and then compare them! It might take a bit of research, but analysis like this can be incredibly useful in terms of where your business sits in the market.

2) Understand what makes you different

The SWOT Analysis above is a great first step to achieving this, but sometimes we need to look a bit deeper. What is it about you that makes you ‘you’ – ie. what makes you completely unique? What is it about your story, both as a business owner, and earlier in your life, that has brought you to do this point? Remember – people absolutely buy from people.

Taking this a step further – how do you present yourself to your customers? What makes your way special? What is it about the experience that you create for your customers that makes them a) happy? And b) keep coming back for more or recommending you to others?

*If you’re not sure about how to answer the final point in particular, why not take some time to ask your customers what it is about you that they love?

3) Actually get to know your competition

This might seem strange, but it can be hugely beneficial to actually get to know your customers – as in have a proper conversation. Often when we worry about things, it’s the relative unknown that makes our worries seem even bigger than they actually are. So why not arrange a coffee and a chat with your competitors? Get to know the people behind the social media profiles? And you might just be surprised how much you get on with them, and how much potential there is for working together and supporting each other in the future.

As a final word on how to stop worrying about your competition – be proud of who you are and how you do things in your business. There’s nobody that does you, like you!

You can’t look at the competition and say you’re going to do it better. You have to look at the competition and say you’re going to do it differently.

Steve Jobs