happy little biz

Is competition ever healthy?

Today I want to talk a little about the whole idea of competition.

As small business folks there are always going to be others that do the same kinds of things we do, and offer similar services. That's just a given. Old school business textbooks would call those other businesses 'the competition'.

They (whoever 'they' are) even say that a bit of healthy competition is good for us.

But do you ever wonder if that's really true? Does that kind of thinking belong in our lives outside of sports?

Here's some food for thought:

We entrepreneur, small biz types are most successful in our work when we can show how our services are different from everyone else's. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, and is actually very helpful to everyone involved. Your clients will know if your services are the right fit for them, and you'll be a lot happier because you'll attract clients that are right for you. Complete win/win.

Sometimes, however, we find ourselves being overly concerned about being competitive. "I'm not competing with anyone", we might say, or "there's room for us all, no need to think about others who do what I do". That's fair! For many of us, we really don't want to come across as aggressive or like we're trying to 'beat' others in the industry.

But the thing is, showing how you are unique in the market and different from other businesses like yours does not mean you are trying to be combative. It does not mean you are trying to undercut someone, or 'take away' their business.

Showing how you are unique is actually about helping people find the best match for them. Are your services/products the best for their specific situation? Will you be happy working with that person? Or is someone else in the industry better suited, even if you both do the same kinds of things?

This is all part of that 'finding your voice in business' thing I keep talking about.

So is competition healthy? Well, maybe! But you don't have to think of yourself as 'in competition' with others if you find those words don't work for you. Instead, think of yourself as one unique approach to the work that you do, just as others who do similar work have their own unique approach. And when your unique approach doesn't match what a client needs? That's when you can happily refer out to one of those 'competitors'!

Don't be afraid to differentiate yourself from the crowd.

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