— July 15, 2019
Synergize. Hustle. Authentic. Brand building. There are a lot of buzzwords that have their time in the sun in your work vocabulary. That’s all well and good, as many of them come with a learning curve for entrepreneurs, and offer us a new way of looking at the world.
One word to eliminate from your work vocabulary?
You Aren’t In Competition With Anyone
If you’re a shoe company, you might think that nike or Adidas is your competitor. Why wouldn’t you? You’re both making shoes, and there are only so many people in the world. You’d be forgiven for thinking that you need to fight with Adidas for every foot out there.
Instead, I challenge you to think of it this way: you and those other shoe brands are working together to make sure every person has the exact pair of shoes that they want.
There are 7.7 billion people in the world, and the population is growing. Beyond that, in developed countries, people own more than just one pair of shoes. In fact, people own more than just one pair of a certain type of shoes! One pair of sisters own over 6,000 pairs of sneakers between the three of them. When Kanye re-did his wife Kim’s closet, he threw out 250 pairs of shoes.
There are more than enough customers out there for shoe companies. Just like there are more than enough customers for snowboard makers, for t-shirt makers, for bumper sticker makers. You’re not in competition with anyone; you’re giving people the opportunity to find the specific product that is right for them.
Competition Strangles Business Growth
Thinking of other businesses in your niche strangles your own growth as a business, and it strangles growth in that niche.
Think of the situation that Facebook has gotten itself into. Over the last decade, Facebook has very deliberately bought or run out of business other tech companies that do similar things to what Facebook does. It bought Instagram. It bought Whatsapp. Now Facebook is a tech monopoly, and it is beginning to come under fire from the market at large as well as Congress for its practices.
By acquiring or killing anything that was remotely similar to itself, Facebook has stalled growth in its own sector. If Facebook can’t come up with an idea, that idea may not ever be conceived.
The Final Word
Get rid of the word competition or competitor in your work vocabulary. Instead, reframe the people or businesses you think of competitors as friends with a shared goal. How can you help them, and how can they help you, serve more people? How can you work together in the same arena to deliver the best products and services for your audiences?