Almost all of them…
A client was bemoaning the fact that she had numerous competitors for her business. She was wrong. Those other businesses were not at her price point or level of service. The people who would choose to use those other services were not in her target market.
Consider this: in my little town of about 30,000 residents we have 147 churches. That is not a typo… one hundred forty seven places for people to share their faith. Each one of them offers basically the same message of “Love thy neighbor…” but each one delivers it differently and because of that, each house of worship attracts certain members. It could be the location, the music, the service schedule, the leadership, or the building that makes a difference on why someone chooses one over the other.
Your biggest competitor is imaginary. Sure there may be another wedding photographer, coffee shop, or bookkeeper in your market area, but each of you has a unique offering and similar challenges. Start with understanding what is key to your success with your market. Who absolutely loves to work with you and what is it that they rave about?
Now, figure out the differences between you and your competition. What’s different about their product or service and how they deliver it compared to your products and services? You benefit by knowing who else offers what you do in your market so that you can possibly team up and even refer clients to each other.
Imagine the Old Pro photographer who can’t meet the date or the budget of a tiny wedding, but he knows that Newbie photographer is professional, reliable, and would love the opportunity to do this event. The Old Pro connects the couple with the Newbie, and they get great pictures of their happily ever after. The client is happy! And, later on, the two photographers refer more clients, share trade secrets, and support each other on shoots when needed.
There truly is enough business for everyone. Never allow your imagination to convince you the “competition” is out to get you. Get a jump on your business by understanding your unique value and the difference between you and the other guy. Then share that knowledge with your target market. Knowledge is power.