A Little Bit of Competition Never Hurt Anybody

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In any industry – creative or otherwise – there is competition; from your peers, from seasoned professionals and from amateurs. It’s a fact of business life. Far from being something that you should see as a threat, I am a firm believer that a little bit of competition never hurt anybody.

Competition forces you to be creative in order to stand out, but it also makes you push yourself and your business forward and keeps the industry fresh and exciting. Without new blood coming through the ranks with their crazy ideas, brides would all still be wearing 80s ivory meringue dresses and photographers would still be raving about the beauty of spot colour.

The best chance you have to succeed in an industry rife with competition is to stand out. If a client is faced with ten very similar options at the same price, they’re likely to pick the one that resonates most with them. Never underestimate the power of marketing yourself to a very niche client. Embrace what makes you unique. If you try to be liked by everybody, you’ll end up being loved by nobody.

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However this article isn’t my tips for standing out in a crowded market. Today I want to make you realise who are your actual competition, and who most definitely are not. I also want to let you in on a little unknown secret – competition is actually really helping your business.

Do you think the CEO of Prada sits around shaking in his designer boots when a new branch of Primark opens? Does he heck. They might both be selling clothing but they cater to a completely different end of the market. Even if Primark bring out a new jumper that is eerily similar (read: a complete rip off) of one that Prada sold last season, Prada don’t care because they’re not only already onto designing next year’s collections, but their customers would only ever want to buy the original.

Disgruntled small business owners, afraid of a little competition, pop up in every sector of the wedding industry, but most of the time their fears are as unfounded as Prada being upset about what Primark are doing.

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There are photography forums fit to bursting with experienced wedding photographers fretting about the ‘weekend warriors’ undercutting their prices.

There are independent bridal boutiques complaining about David’s Bridal and TX Maxx.

There are graphic designers disapproving of wedding blogs promoting DIY stationery ideas.

There are caterers stressing that pot luck dinners, self-catering and food trucks are gaining popularity.

Forgive me, but can we all just give it a rest?

It is not your job to ‘educate’ couples to the fact that they should be spending their hard earned money with you instead of going down a cheaper or DIY route. The kinds of client who don’t see the value in what you do are not there to be convinced because they are not your target market. They never have been and they never will be. Instead of fretting or complaining, use what’s going on in the industry as inspiration to do something new for yourself and to mix things up a bit in your own company.

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So instead of bellyaching about competition, let’s embrace it. Realise that not only is it helping your business by keeping the industry fresh and innovative but in the mean time they’re actually catering to a very different end of the market to you.

Look at what they’re doing well and learn from it. Have they figured out a better way of doing something? Is there a customer service technique that you can pinch? Do they sell a product that your customers might appreciate a version of? Is their website blowing yours out of the water?

Competition should be embraced and encouraged, not thought of as something that’s trying to destroy your business.

Suppliers

24 comments

  1. Well, that came at just the right time!

    Thank you Kat! I’m going to shuffle off and innovate now rather than worrying about matching up to everyone else.

    x

  2. This is exactly what i was discussing with my friend the other day! If we become complacent we become boring, a little bit of kick up the rear never fails to help keep us coming up with new ideas. I always say they can always copy what i do but they don’t have my brain so they will never keep up with me.

  3. Kat, I couldn’t agree more!

    There is only one business guru who has said this better than you… Gene Simmons from KISS. Possibly the best businessman in the world ever. I love you both equally… though in very different ways.

    I stand by what you both say passionately; there are few original ideas but limitless original approaches! If I worried about the other cake makers in the world, I’d never bake another cake. My brides like working with me and they like my cakes. That’s personal, bespoke service, baby!

    Worrying about other businesses is like KISS feeling threatened by the Bee Gees.

    It’s all any of us can do to be true to ourselves, take a look at our businesses, and make them rock.

    Cxx

  4. Well, I’m kind of there some of the time! It’s good to know what everybody’s up to as a photographer, but TBH I’ve found that I’ve tried to avoid trends as much as poss. (Maybe even achieved that particular goal some of the time!). I’ve always kind of been in competition with myself – always trying to get back to my roots… Sometimes it’s good to remember what you originally set out to do, remember the sound of you own voice. Anybody else’s is just noise… X

  5. Sooo spot on with this, I used to fret that I would be unable to be noticed in amongst the competition in what I do, then I realised that I just needed to be me as much as possible and to let that shine through. There’s no one else that can be you, so I think focusing on all your unique quirkiness helps! Plus I like to see the competition as a driver for pushing you forward and to keep changing and being innovative rather than stagnating 🙂

  6. Such a well written and honest article… how refreshing and how true. I have definitely been guilty of the comparison game and worry of being different to what others are offering. Onwards and upwards and stay true! 🙂

  7. Thanks. That has inspired me to keep on promoting our venture when I was thinking that there wasn’t any point as other people were doing something similar. I think that there is always room to learn and grow. It’s taking the final step that is difficult when you have a good but uninspiring steady income and are thinking about trading it for the unknown.

  8. YES!!! It really pees me off when I see bridal shops going on about TK Maxx and other cheapo shops that will never target their demographic… I also find it disheartening when photographers moan in public about being undercut, it doesn’t look all that professional.

    I think that competition only serves to highlight what’s different about you, good or bad. If you sucked in the first place, then you need to make some changes and if you were awesome the lack of awesome in others will put a big old spotlight on your awesomeness.

    Oh, and if they imitate, evolve. As you said. Brilliant piece. xxx

  9. Totally agree – it’s easy to get wrapped up in things when you’re working really hard so thank you for the reminder of what’s important!

    Here’s to getting on with doing a great job, staying on our toes, learning from others and having fun with it!

  10. SPOT ON!!

    I am such a believer in this. Time spent worrying about what others are or are not doing is time lost focusing on you and what you can do for your couples.

    Comparison is the theif of joy, right?

    BOOM.

  11. At the end of the day, every bride is different so stands to reason they will be attracted to suppliers that match their wedding vision and or personality. Sounds simple but amazes me how many people forget that. They try to target or market to every bride out there rather then remembering what type of wedding is right for them.

    I say spend less time worrying about the competition, and more time thinking about how to market your business and brand. I think this is why the UKAWP works, our members frequently pitch for business, one planner will get the job, the other won’t. But doesn’t mean they fall out of respect with each other.

    I think life is too short to spend time on negative energy, put that energy into making your business the best it can be. Yet another great post Kat and p.s loving the new twitter picture, gorgeous backdrop!

  12. Great post Kat, so well said and I totally agree with Bernadette of UKAWP’s points. I’m a great believer in really focusing on your niche and I’m the first to admit I’m much more a planner who focuses on complex logistics and super time short couples than those looking for the ultimate creative. We are all so very different at UKAWP and in the world at large and your post is a fabulous reminder of that.

  13. I’ve been in the low-priced photographer market for a little while now, wanting to build up my portfolio and get some experience under my belt before I crack on and do the sort of weddings I really want to do. I know there are probably a lot of higher-end of the market photographers who probably hate me but I felt it was right for me to do that rather than go straight in with at the top end from the beginning.

    I’ve decided that 2015 is the year I’m going to really gear my packages to the sort of clients I want, those that really appreciate photography and see it as one of the most important aspects of their wedding day and, to start with, I felt I needed to educate my current clients about this but, like you said, if you have to educate those people, they are not the clients for you.

    This article is so right and just hammers home all the things I’ve been thinking of late. Thank you for reassuring me. I can’t wait to start getting those clients I really want!!

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