The world is starving for genuine, win-win collaborations.
Every single business can have enough clients, if we each became more mindful, active, and caring about creating win-win relationships.
The labels we use influence how we think about others. I suggest that we refrain from using the term "competitor" (which creates fear) and instead, let us replace it with the term "niche mate".
A niche mate is another business, like you, that provides a service similar to the one that you provide and/or serves the same type of audience.
A niche mate, like you, has needs, insecurities, genius zones (that might complement yours), and they have themselves and maybe a family to support. A niche mate is worth helping, just as you are.
In fact, your niche mates are either your best mirrors, or your best partners...
Niche Mates as Mirrors
It's difficult to see how good (or bad) you look, and adjust accordingly, unless you look into a mirror.
Similarly, it's easier to figure out what you want to change about your own branding, your own messaging, and your own marketing, if you are willing to look at your niche mates. They essentially serve as mirrors for your business.
When you look at another business that provides a similar service (or serves a similar audience) you're naturally more able to critique and praise.
Do you love something they're doing? Take it as a signal that you should consider emulating that too. (Not copying, but seeing how you could do the same kind of thing, in your own voice/style.)
Do you dislike something they're doing? Take that criticism and refrain from doing it in your own business, too.
Study Your Niche Mates
Who are your niche mates? Ask around. And use google to find more. (This video shows how I do it.)
From the ones you've discovered, list 5 of the niche mates that are most similar to what you do.
For each one, answer these questions:
From these answers, modify and improve your marketing as a result!
Instead of copying, focus on being of Service...
Don’t try to match your niche mates's offerings, feature by feature.
For each feature they provide in their service, ask how it is trying to solve a problem for clients.
Isolate what the problems they are solving are.
And ask yourself:
Focus on solving your ideal clients’ needs in the best way you know how.
Niche Mates as Partners
Contact your niche mates casually, to see if they might be open to mutual support. The ones who are open to it, are either more generous in nature or simply a better fit to befriend at this time.
Here's why our niche mates can be some of the best partners:
Help one another by introducing your offerings to each other's audience, so that everyone can be helped:
One of the lighter ways to start partnering is by connecting with potential content partners.
If you are monetizing using one of the scalable ways (e.g. selling an info product) it is especially helpful to partner with niche mates, because customers often buy multiple info products on the same topic.
In your research into niche mates, also take note of who is partnering with your niche mates? Who is endorsing them, or introducing your niche mates' offerings to their audience? They might also be interested in introducing yours.
If we connect & share, there is more than enough for everyone.
The World (through the internet) is so large, that there are always more than enough ideal clients for you, for the rest of your life. We just all need to be more mindful, active, and caring in connecting with our niche mates.
At the same time, you need to do your own work: become excellent in your niche.
There are no competitors. Only mirrors to respect and learn from, or partners to work with!
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for Counselors, Coaches, Speakers, and Authors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.