Competition is one of those things that sits in the back of your mind and says: “They’re better than you. How can you ever compete with them?”
In my experience, I find that you can’t and shouldn’t compete with “them”, and if you compete with anyone it should be yourself.
Do I sound crazy?
I’d like to reposition the way you think about competition; it may help you build a better brand and business.
Competition as we think of it is dated
Even though many would argue that it’s the natural state of man – we can certainly see it in nature – I doubt animals go around trying to out-speed their predators because they have an ego to defend. I doubt they die thinking: “I’m such garbage.”
Yet often when people compete in business, especially when they’re new and are spending a lot of time looking at competitors’ sites, there is often a sense of “Am I good enough?” that deflates many-a-good idea.
I love to win.
I’ve played competitive sports most of my life, but the older I got, the more I saw a shift away from the desire of beating THEM, to the idea of becoming a better player, and ultimately – unbeknownst to me – beating older versions of myself.
I wasn’t really aware of it until I looked back on it later, but I just became calmer, more confident in my ability; I’d get on the court because I loved the game; I loved the challenge. And I won, a lot.
You begin to stand out
When you focus on enhancing your skills, this happens naturally. People want to work, play and interact with those good at what they do, those with a great attitude. And people talk.
It’s not rocket science, and no amount of “perceived value” fairy dust sprinkling people do online these days (inflating their actual experience and their prices) is going to replace your actual worth and ability.
So the key to branding and running your business is not really to compete with some abstract – or even very real – “competitors”.
Because then you’re just spending all of your creative energy focusing on the wrong thing, like fear or a sense of lacking. Instead, it’s about being so good at what you do, so good about communicating that ACTUAL worth, that ACTUAL value, that you simply stand out.
In this model, your “competition” becomes irrelevant.
If what you’re after is running a successful business and begin to follow the principles that allow you to deliver solid products and services people want, you compete first and foremost with YOURSELF.
You compete with:
- self-defeating thinking
- low morale
- laziness and inability to focus on the most important
- all that fun internal stuff.
And of course, you also stop trying to be somebody else.
The questions you should be asking yourself are:
Is what I’m pursing lighting me up?
What do I have to learn to do this well?
Have I improved around the areas that matter?
How do I talk effectively about what I do?
You want your business to be profitable yet authentic, not defined by the other guy and what he’s doing but rather by what you want to bring to the table, how you want to impact the world.
This type of thinking means more clients, better contracts
Not being a crazy competitive guy, you come off as calm and confident, making others have more confidence and trusting you to do the job well. Your life as an entrepreneur or business owner becomes better as well. You are creative in your own way.
It’s a subtle difference, but it can make all the difference in the world.