How do you think about others in your field or niche? Are they competitors or colleagues. A threat or a resource.
I had an interesting conversation the other day about home-based businesses and competition. It revolved around the way we view those with similar businesses or who work in our field. Too often others doing business in our field are seen as “the competition.” It’s important to consider how you view your peers – it can directly affect many areas of your business, including networking and referrals. Meaning you may stop getting them.
Many fields are cut-throat. Others are more cooperative by nature. How you choose to view your contemporaries can create a specific picture of you and your business.
For example, I know of a plumber who was very well respected and sought after. All of his business came by word of mouth. He kept a list of other plumbers whose work he respected to refer folks to when he got too busy. Some regarded this with suspicion, while most loved it and gladly returned the favor.
Wendy at eMoms at Home talks about her experience in blogging, but many fields are similar:
Competition is Really Coop-e-tition After enjoying a successful career in the cutthroat recruiting industry (actually, I really did enjoy it!!), coming into the blogging community has both surprised and astonished me at times.
… I didn’t expect it, and in hindsight, I’m not really sure why it surprised me so much. But I am honored to be a part of this community of the best and the brightest…
I’ve been snubbed myself by others who thought I was honing in on their business (Hey, what’s this guy after, anyway?). Usually I like to create a sort of partnership, by approaching peers and looking for ways we could be a resource to each other. Some may see this as a threat (boo!). While most think of it as a great way to help each other out. Fortunately it’s not too often that its the former. I’ve been lucky to form some great relationships in the fields I work in.
So think about how you want to be viewed by others in your field. I don’t think there is a right answer, only the answer that works for you. But if you’re afraid of losing business, then maybe you need to rethink your strategies, rather than looking at who might be “out to get you.” A win-win relationship can really boost a small business, and help you to gain a reputation as a contributor in your field.
Great post Tony. I’m glad to see that you took the idea and expanded it further than I did. Fear of competition is to believe that there is not enough business to go around – a pretty limiting belief I do everything I can to not allow into my mind ;).
Thanks, Wendy. That’s a great point about the limiting aspects of that type of thinking. It’s very similar to abundance versus lack. If you believe there’s plenty to go around, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Focusing on lack (I need to keep what’s mine) is too.
I like the first prophesy better 🙂
I have to admit I’ve been guilty of this at times. In my profession, I viewed everyone as competition. Only after I zoned in on my target market and really learned that not everyone was going for the same clients I was, that I was able to see how stupid I’ve been. I’ve been standoff-ish and probably have lost some very good friends and associates I could have been making the last year.
Jennifer – I think it’s a natural trap to fall in to. I guess humans are competitive by nature, and we often feel the need to protect our turf. I think your realization is great. Seeing your target market clearly really helps.
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