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As an entrepreneur, you’re setting out on a less-traveled path full of potential and possibility. However, as you embark on this journey, you might find yourself navigating a maze of comparison, thinking about the roads taken by other entrepreneurs or the successes of other businesses. 

Over the years, I’ve developed a set of practices and ways of thinking that have helped me conquer comparison and instead, see competition as a positive part of my entrepreneurial journey. I want to share those lessons with you so that you, too, can rise above the competition and forge your own path.

Building a Business Anchored in Focus

As you’re building your business, you’re essentially working with a blank canvas, using innovation and creativity to produce something that didn’t exist before. But, in the midst of this process, it’s possible to lose sight of your own vision and instead, focus on the competition — which can either lead to you coming to a standstill, or following in the competition’s footsteps to “fit in”. I’ve faced moments like this in my entrepreneurial journey and in those moments, I needed to remember this truth:

“Building a business does require research and some competitive analysis, but when we become consumed by what others are doing, we do ourselves and our business a disservice.” – Nancy Twine

To build a successful business, you’ll have to maintain a competitive edge. The only way to do this is by finding out what already exists within your industry. You can’t differentiate yourself in the marketplace if you don’t know what already exists in the market. Gathering this information allows you to find whitespace opportunities so you can develop a new concept or refine a service or product, gaining an advantage over your competitors.

Instead of fixating on perceived gaps, however, remind yourself that every idea holds potential. Embrace your unique vision, and let it guide you. Staying focused on your “why” is imperative as you keep an eye on what’s happening around you. By understanding this dynamic, I’ve stayed resolute in focusing on what I’m building rather than being enticed by what others are doing.

Embracing the Competition

New competitors entering the scene can signify a thriving industry brimming with growth potential as well as a need for your business. Competitors bring the gift of education — a wave of awareness that benefits us all. For example, my journey with Briogeo in the hair care industry has revealed that when competitors introduce products similar to one of Briogeo’s, it helps bring new awareness and educate the market about the benefits of the category. This awareness widens the pool of consumers who understand, appreciate, and that may ultimately seek out Briogeo as a hair care option. A rising tide lifts all boats!

Study how competitors market themselves, from the brand voice to the product packaging. See what draws you in and turns you away. If you find yourself being duplicated by a competitor, see what they do differently from you and assess it honestly. Are they using a marketing approach you admire? Did they miss the mark on product quality? Take notes and use their imitation as research to better your brand.

Staying True to Your North Star

There’s a fine line between being informed about your competitors and being consumed by what they’re doing. Being knowledgeable about industry trends and competing strategies is crucial, but so is steering clear of distractions. A wise mentor once told me, “Being aware and being focused are very different.” The art lies in using your awareness to bolster decision-making, stay attuned to evolving trends, and understand the shifting landscape of your industry.

What’s the bottom line? Don’t compromise your passion to meet external expectations. Competition and comparison can tempt you to shape your ideas to fit what you perceive as the “norm.” In these moments, it’s important to trust the authenticity of your North Star and allow your vision to be your anchor. As an entrepreneur, your path isn’t about fitting in — it’s about standing out. Applying this advice to my own journey has given me the success I’ve always known was possible. What will your commitment and focus bring to you?

As you take the next steps, I urge you to remember this: comparison shouldn’t stifle your creativity or obscure your path. It’s within your power to carve a journey that celebrates your uniqueness, allowing you to thrive in the presence of competition and charge forward with authenticity.

What steps can you take to embrace competition without compromising your brand’s identity and mission? Let me know in the comments!