No matter what the size, businesses are all affected by competition. It can push a start-up to elevate itself from the bottom rung or pull a corporation into oblivion. It’s that thrumming sound at the back of every entrepreneur’s head. Here are facts that small business owners should know about competition.

Competition is a product of a viable market

As an entrepreneur, you want to separate yourself from the competition early on. Typically, this would lead you to pursue unique ideas that nobody else is working on. But think about it – why would anyone not invest in a good idea? If it has potential, chances are there’s already somebody working on it.

It’s not about being unique. It’s about having a S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound) solution. If you sell in an empty market, there’s a 99 per cent probability that your idea sucks. Competition is an indication of high demand.

Builds identity

When you’re surrounded by competitors with inexhaustible budgets and cool marketing campaigns, it’s not hard to get anxious and little bit envious. Their website has flat design with layered navigation. They’re using hi-tech CRM software. They got a famous YouTube celebrity to make a commercial and target a young demographic.  How about you?

It’s understandable to check what your competitors are doing. It provides insight on trends that you might have missed. But if you spend too much time on looking instead of doing, you’ll end up chasing instead of setting trends. The only thing that you can control is your business. So you end up looking internally and develop your own niche.

Triggers evolution

Elbowing your way into a crowded (hopefully not overcrowded) market can be difficult. If you’re in a land inhabited by corporate giants, how can a small player like you attract clients? And why should you be in it if it’s already teeming with sharks?

Focus on a competition differentiator that works. For example, Facebook did what Friendster and MySpace couldn’t. This way, competition helps your business evolve into the one thing that you’ve always wanted in the first place: be a pioneer.

Competition can make or break a business, but it’s an essential part of growth.