How do you view competition in your industry? Most business owners get depressed when they see other businesses in their space, a bit like a cat protecting their territory! On the other hand, I encourage business owners to embrace competition with open arms, and feel good about it. Let me explain…
I was in Hollywood recently, and if you’ve visited that area as a tourist, you may have seen a company called Starline tours. They offer guided bus tours of celebrity homes. It’s quite fun to drive around Beverly Hills and suddenly see George Clooney taking out the rubbish, but then hurrying back inside when he sees a bus load of gawking tourists snapping photos of him in his pajamas (true story).
Anyway, Starline has been the provider of movie star home tours since 1935. They went unchallenged for decades…until a few years ago. Suddenly, a proliferation of competitors starting popping up.
The “glass is half-empty” business owner would have looked at Starline and said, “how can anyone compete with a company that’s been doing this since 1935, unchallenged?!”
By contrast, the “glass is half-full” business owner would have said, “with Starline’s tours so incredibly popular, that proves beyond doubt that there’s an enormous opportunity for other companies too!”
Currently, there are more than a dozen different celebrity tour providers in the same market as Starline, and they’re all offering specialized, niche tours. For more details, please watch the video accompanying this article, it’s just 4 minutes long.
The key to success with all of these new companies is that they offer something different and unique. They have each found an angle that the others don’t have. You can do the same in your industry. You need to explore how to make your offerings faster, slower, taller, shorter, for young people, for elderly people, for men, for women, and so on. Target a niche need and avoid trying to be all things to all people.
Remember too that competition confirms that there’s money to be made in an industry. I would much rather start a business in a competitive industry than in a new, unproven niche. I encourage you to embrace competition, aim to be a ‘glass is half full’ business owner, and if you ever visit Hollywood on a celebrity tour, be nice to George Clooney.