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Dealing With Competitors

Competition is a natural phenomenon that signals our methods are working. But what happens when it becomes your obsession?

By Sharmadean Reid

15 April 2023

As we come into our power and accumulate, some will try to take. This is a good thing. Competition is a natural phenomenon that signals our methods are working. We do not let competition frustrate us and we most certainly do not let it distract us. Time spent worrying about others is time wasted. We embrace competition and use our methods to tip the balance in our favour. Women competing against women is a complete and utter distraction to the fact that we already have so little. We don’t fight over scraps. We stay in our lane and support each other where necessary.

The thing about creating a very cult-like team is that they feel super protective over the business and when they see anyone wade into our domain - whether that’s from a visual aesthetic/industry/ambassadors etc - they get incredibly upset. But negative energy spent on the competition is positive energy not spent thinking about your business. So in simplest terms, I don’t.

That said, I’ve decided to include an essay on competitors because our community is rapidly growing. Now with thousands of members, it’s only natural that there will be women amongst you who are working something similar, if not the exact same thing. So let’s talk about competition. Like I get it. Women have never had enough to go around. I totally understand where this paranoia comes from but all it serves to do is stunt your growth and it’s not going to get you to the next stage. As I’m getting older I feel that I can solidly and without question put people into two categories - scarcity mindset and abundant mindset. It’s only now in my later life, I realise I can’t work with Scarcity people - the ones who don’t want to share resources, who hide their contacts and are eternally paranoid they’re being ripped off. In my 20s it was entertaining. In my 30s it is tiring. And trust me, one day your success will find you on the wrong side of them. So leave those people alone.

But everything is on a Spectrum, right? Few people in the world can maintain the constant equilibrium of self-confidence and contentment. And so when you’re in your lower self, you might edge into scarcity mindset and start fearing the competition. So let’s talk about working through that and getting you back into Abundance! Think about how to handle your competitors with grace using these New Methods.

1 - Consider if you want a world with no problems to solve.

Do you really want to wake up one day and have no new problems to solve? Nothing to do? No new challenges? If you’re a New Methods woman, I can’t imagine this is your bag. Try and see this competitor issue as an exciting new level to unlock in the game of business and life. If life was too easy, I’m sure you’d be somewhat bored. Embrace the problem.

2 - Acknowledge that it proves your market is hot.

Competition shows demand for your entire industry. There is no point in being too early in your industry because customers will not be ready. Many start-ups have failed by being the lone early launch. Customers start believing in a product when they see multiple offerings in the space and so competition legitimises your work. You might see a crowded market, but I see an exciting growing space that will make customers believe it’s real.

3 - Use it as fuel, energy to burn on your rocket ship. Healthy competition is good.

Competition does keep you on your toes. The famous book by Andy Grove called Only The Paranoid Survive is slightly extreme in the title but an amazing treatise on using your fears as fuel. While I would not advise paranoia, I do understand that keeping abreast of what is going on in your industry is necessary if you are using that as a springboard for your next move. Sometimes I can get complacent and rest on my laurels until I start to see that there are other people nipping at my heels doing the same thing. I like a healthy amount of competition to thrive, but just make sure it stays as fuel - underneath you, propelling you up, and it burns off - not your oxygen.

4 - Look forward, keep innovating and stay one step ahead.

Competition keeps you innovating and that fuel should take your rocket ship out of the atmosphere. If you create something and somebody replicates it in its entirety the easiest way to remove any anxiety about competitors is by reinventing and reinventing and reinventing over and over again. Launch and learn! You keep pressing forward and they have to keep catching up. What can you do today that will take your business out of the room of average and supercharge it into an anomaly? Keep it moving…

5 - Know what makes you special. If you want to keep moving forward you need to think strategically about what makes you special. List out your personal USP. Your fingerprint experiences life that no one can replicate. Bake these into your product. It might be that you grew up in the North, so you have unique knowledge of how to attract that audience to be your early customers. It might be that you had a former life as a DJ, meaning your branding will be inspired by rave culture instead of looking like the cookie cut startup logo. List out what makes you, you.

Now do the same for your product. One liner answers for

Who is your customer? What do they believe in? What is the feature they’ll use the most? How do you make money?

And now, the next time you encounter someone who THINKS that you’re a competitor with something like “Oh wow we are doing really similar things, eh?” you can have the following conversation:

Oh amazing! Are you building a product for <insert your customer demographic>

Well no…

Oh, are your users obsessed with <insert your customer beliefs and aims>

No, not quite…

Oh, can they <insert unique feature they’ll use>

Well no…

Oh, will you be monetising through <insert your monetisation strategy>

Well no…

Oh! Maybe we have the same intention - and that’s a good thing, right? Because we all want <insert company mission here> but we have a very different customer, business model and monetisation strategy. It’s so exciting that our industry is growing. We should stick together and share notes!

You’ll soon find that when you break it down, most businesses win and lose on their distribution model, margins and monetization strategies, not their colour palette or social feed. However, if today, your business and your competitors' business IS doing the exact same 4 things, then now is the time to dig deep and think of ways to stand out from the crowd. Brainstorm how you can keep innovating.

The only person you should be competing with is your past self.

6 - Be gracious. Be the host. Invite, welcome and support your competitors. This is the easiest way to quell your competitor rage, and the first time you do it, it may be through gritted teeth but trust me, it works. Invite them to dinner. Ask them how you can collaborate. Send them kind notes and flowers when they win. This is not some slimy power play (remember we are over the masculine way of building our empires) but a genuine New Method of calming your own anxieties and being the bigger person. The by-product of grace is that it does give you more power. Power over your emotions as it makes you feel better to be kind than snide. Your competitors are expecting you to hate them. How classy of you to collaborate with and nurture them instead. You never know when you might need their support.

Being the host is now my default way of existing but only because I have gone through the other steps and I know myself, I know my value and I know that I can always produce more. I know what makes me special and I have done research on how we can turn that into a commercial opportunity. When I first started this work, there was a big gap between me doing the right thing and me actually WANTING to do the right thing and there were times when I was petty. But now, my moves are pretty transparent and 99% genuine. If I give you work, it’s because I think you’re good at it, if I cut your work, it’s because I can’t afford it. If I invest in you, it’s because I want to support you. If I cancel a meeting or keep you waiting it’s because I really am running late or busy. If I’m uncommunicative, it’s because I’m no longer interested. It’s not a power play, it is what it is.

Remember - No one is original, nothing is unique. Even Hedy Lamarr: the incredible mind behind secure WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth needed others to build upon and improve her work to the standard we are able to consume today. There’s a reason the word Zeitgeist exists. There are only so many outputs when we are all currently consuming the same inputs. So just know your worth and enjoy the ride. The only person you should be competing with is your past self.

The Short Stack

No one is original, nothing is unique but by working with your competitors, you may be able to grow together.

By Sharmadean Reid

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