I’ll Help Your Competition

I’ve owned a small business full-time here in Columbus for almost 6 years. In that time, I’ve learned a lot about competition. I hear whispers about feuding businesses, petty gossip, jealousy. After reading Kayla’s tweet (below), I decided to share some thoughts.

Digging Deeper Into Competition

Last year, I partnered with two other female photographers* for a passion project. We photographed the same 10 women independently in our own style (see our work here). It would be easy for someone else to casually lump us together and label us as competitors. While it may be true to a certain extent, it’s not as simple as that. It became really obvious in how we work, how we collaborate and the final 30 photos.

Plus, by getting to know other photographers in my community, I can better refer work to them and only take on clients that truly fit with The Wonder Jam.

Need more convincing? Here are specific examples of how we’re different:

  • We engage with our clients differently (all positively)
  • We edit differently (and spend different amounts of time editing)
  • We have different equipment
  • Our financial goals are different
  • We have different hobbies, influences and friends
  • I have a studio, Megan Leigh has a joint studio with another photographer, Autumn does not
  • Fundamentally, we see our photography very uniquely

I’m at the point in my career as a designer and photographer where I understand my own uniquenesses and strengths and I can truly say that I don’t see anyone as competition. If you’re seriously considering my business and another, I can probably help you figure out who’s the better fit.

Defining Competition

The first time I encountered competition through the lens of my clientele was inside of our own sales funnel (back in 2014).** An inquiry popped into our inbox from someone who was a direct competitor to one of our current clients. I felt torn. We told them that we couldn’t work with them. It would be a conflict of interest. BUT HOLD UP. Let’s define what I mean when I say “direct competitor” :

  • They knew of and followed our client online
  • Their key ingredient was the same as our client’s key ingredient
  • They referenced our client in the inquiry email positively

When I read this list now, I laugh. They hadn’t sold a single product at that point. They didn’t have a logo, brand, messaging, photography or online shop. The idea of competition was just that – an idea.

I would go so far as to say that we’re using the term “competition” too specifically. I’d challenge you to stop thinking about those who offer the same product or service but rather where your customers are spending their money (instead of spending it with you). I go in spurts where I invest in massage, facials, acupuncture, manicures and skincare. I already know which studios, brands and stores are for me once I decide what thing I want to buy. Specific brands speak to me. Others do not.

Creating Work for Competing Businesses

Competition now flows in and out of our door with ease. We serve coaches, salon + spas, fitness studios, designers, photographers, restaurants, cookbook authors, fashion retailers, skincare companies, real estate agents, woodworkers and more. Through our own creative work and local events, we connect with your competition every day. It shouldn’t scare you.

With all that being said, I’ll help your competition become the best small business that it can be. I’ll help your small business be it’s best, too. I truly believe it will make the community stronger, it will challenge you and it will help me strengthen my muscles in problem-solving. I won’t share your secrets, your stats, your failures or even your successes. Promise.


*You can check out Megan Leigh and Autumn’s sites here.

**If the term “sales funnel” makes you cringe like it makes most, check out one of our latest podcast episodes.

A Consideration

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Comments (2)

  • BOS Greigh

    love the lines i just read.. i want to wholeheartedly support you and your beautiful signature business “art” of positivity. I have to just quietly provide the flip of the coin, the shadow on your sunlight. Business is absoloutly winner take all. those that are in the same business will always be the competition. i will always always always attempt to forge an alliance of intrests with other business owners. at the end of the day i will not allow there to be any legitimate oppisition to my intrests. i have clients.. they expect to have the best for the money. competition wants to end my services and ability to provide the best i can, therefore competition wants to hurt my clients. if i didnt feel i was the best i wouldnt be able to stand on this not so popular position. bottom line for me_ u should find a way to allign your intrests with mine. that way we both are happy. i your my client, there is no limit to what can be accomplished to further your goals.. its a cold world out there… ive lost to much during the struggle to play nice now.. “I Am Not A General That Brings An Army With Me Today… I Am The General That Brings Total Victory To Any Army That Is Brought TO ME…

  • Helping the competitors of a client (the competition) could create an industry halo effect that could become beneficial to the client. One needs to make sure that the client and the competitor are billed for the work effort involved.

    When helping a client to become different from their competition, you’ve got to show them how different they can be – even if they sell the same products or services – from their competitors.

    If you show how you’re different, then you’d attract clients who are attracted by your competition!

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