How to overcome competition in business – sounds like a weird topic to be discussing for a wellness business, doesn’t it? I mean, aren’t the caring fields meant to be more about collaboration than competition? Yes, of course. But why then, do you feel that kick in the gut when someone who’s been around for 5 minutes suddenly dominates your Facebook feed? Or perhaps you Googled your modality recently and wondered where your practice had gone? Did it leave you wondering how that happened and what you’ve done wrong, or more so, what they’ve done right?
Competitiveness is not a great feeling. Like it or not, it shows up time and again when it comes to marketing. It is a bigger player than most people give it credit for.
I believe there are different ways we typically handle competition. One is running head first into the crowd with sword raised and chest out. Kill or be killed. Or, there’s the approach to hide away. And this approach is probably the path often chosen, and not often talked about. We admit defeat before anybody even knew there was anything going on.
Choosing the path of least (or most) resistance
As someone who’s been in business for several years, I can say that in the past, this phenomenon has been my biggest downfall. I would get an idea, a spark, I would start to move in that direction, and while I was in the throes of putting it together, someone else would come along and show up doing it! Instead of doing it anyway, I would throw that idea on the scrap heap with the other ideas, and move on. My documents tab became a boulevard of broken dreams – half-written courses, blog posts, emails, list upon list of offers and ideas that never saw the light of day.
Have you had moments like this with your practice? Seeing newer practice owners rise to a status never achieved by your practice, despite your years of experience in the field? Maybe you’re just not comfortable with all the marketing hoo-ha, so your ideas never become more than that? Or you don’t have time to keep up with the latest techniques for growing your practice because you’re so busy working in it?
That feeling that you’re getting crushed by the competition can be worse when underneath it all, you feel like you’re working too hard, and just not reaching the level you hoped for.
Is there another way to overcome competition in business?
I believe there is another way, and it doesn’t involve “beating” your competition at all, but merely showing up for ourselves. If you’re on a mission to change the world in your own way, maybe the following approach is more aligned with you.
Think of the feeling as a gift
That almost-jealous, definitely envious feeling about someone else accomplishing what you wish you had is worth taking time to notice. Instead of feeling defeated, maybe thank the universe for bringing you that little reminder. Maybe you are envious of the way their messaging is razor sharp on their target market? Or maybe you love the approach they’ve taken in their design? Whatever it is, it might be possible for you, in your own way. Dig out the gem from under that icky feeling. I’m sure it’s there.
Use it as inspiration, not ammo
You don’t really dislike this person and their success (apparent or real). You just dislike the feeling behind. Instead of seeing “crushing them like a bug” or “shrinking away” as our only options, we can use that energy positively to propel ourselves forward. I think it’s inspirational to think there could be a time when we collaborate, rather than compete. I know, this is something that’s easy to say on the surface, but incredibly difficult to embody. But perhaps we can see that feeling of competitiveness as a sign that we’re on the right track, rather than one to run for the hills. That there are like-minded people out there, and that our ideas are solid. If they can do it, so can you, so be inspired. Maybe your “competitor” might be your friend and ally one day.
Try a social media detox
If your Instagram or Facebook feed is bumming you out and making you feel not enough, maybe it’s time to have a break? I know many people who regularly delete their social apps from their phones. This may sound counterintuitive to marketing, but it’s more about shifting your focus from content consumer to content producer. It’s removing the noise so you can keep showing up and keep doing you, minus the imposter syndrome. You can use the desktop to post to social media and answer comments and messages there too. And when you’re feeling up to it, reinstall the apps, and no one will be any the wiser!
Don’t bury your head in the sand
One thing I can tell you for sure about marketing, is that it is always changing. Wrangling your online presence (or lack thereof) is something you do need to maintain, just like your health. If your website is dropping in search results, or overall marketing is bland, have you had an audit in a while? There are many new factors influencing where you fall in search results. Or if your email rates are below par, has someone talked through this with you? When was the last time you freshened up your marketing approach? There is always something we can do to improve the trajectory of your practice.
Remember, sometimes it’s all smoke and mirrors
Behind the slick marketing campaign of your competitor, is there substance there? If not, perhaps you owe it to those clients or patients (and your modality) to give them a real, viable alternative that will actually get them the results they are being promised? Maybe that will act as inspiration for your “competitor” to do better, because they will have a better example to emulate and aspire to?
Complaining in the corner to yourself won’t lift the standards of your industry, or expectations of prospective clients or patients. But you, as a leader and mentor in your field leading by example? That can.
There is always room for your story
There will always be someone with plenty of time and lots more energy coming into your industry with youthful fervour. But what they might not have is your unique experience, your wisdom. This insight no doubt makes you an excellent practitioner. That’s the real, honest promise you can deliver, with heart, to your patients or clients out of your lived experience. And that marketing advantage is always worth taking the time to bring forward.
So here’s to a world where we see competition as an illusion. A construct. And our feelings are merely signposts to keep going. To do better, and to choose love – of ourselves and others. Yes, even in business.