When it comes comes to the competition, we usually make a BIG mistake.
Either we overlook or underestimate our competitors because we know too much about them. Or we don't look at the world through the eyes of our customers, so we have no idea who our competitors are.
But both of these are mistakes. Because when our potential clients and customers are in the market for help, they will be talking to our competitors too. So it's important we know who they are, what they offer and how it's of benefit to our customers so that we can make sure we're standing out and truly adding value.
You may know or assume (from their output), that a competitor doesn't have the expertise or skill to deliver the service you offer. But if they use similar words to describe what they do and they have impressive looking credentials, then your customers won't see the difference.
Or you may define your competitor set too narrowly (or not at all). This again means that you are omitting the people or businesses that your potential customers will be finding and approaching when they are looking for help.
So how do you define your competitors?
Simple. They are the people that your potential clients find when they are in the market for your services. A great exercise to do (and one of my recent MONTHLY ACTIONS PLANS) is a competitive review, where you look for people who do something similar to you and evaluate their brand. How are they different? What do they do better than you? And what can you learn from them?
Because we can all learn something from the competition. There will be something that will make us think 'Ohhh, wish I'd thought of that!'. And that's fine. Because they'll be looking at you and thinking the same.
And although I am a big champion of collaboration, a sense of competition is healthy. And for ambitious businesses, it's key. It stops us getting complacent. It means we constantly seek to improve things for our customers and clients. And it makes our sector and market stronger too. Which is another one of those win win wins I always talk about.