There are two major challenges when you’re trying to run a business: you need to find a way to appeal to customers enough to generate the revenue you need to survive and prosper, and you need to carve out space in the marketplace alongside your existing competitors.

Sharing a market with competitor businesses is difficult, not just practically but emotionally. They’re a challenge your business needs to face, while you face the personal challenge of not letting that sense of competition become toxic.

Today we’re taking a look at this difficult aspect of life when running a business and help you to steer a successful course.

Making Your Space

You need to find a space in the market for your customers to concentrate on you: not merely a conceptual space, a USP that lets customers differentiate you from other brands in the same niche, but temporal space as well. If your new product launch, advertising push or sale overlaps with your competitor’s projects then you risk splitting your market and asking your customers very directly to choose between your brands.

Using a market research firm can get you the competitive intelligence you need to plan your business’ major events and new product development around the other big brands in your field, and give you the breathing space that allows you to find a loyal following and success.

Making Your Peace

You need to make your peace with the idea that people will be competing with you. If you’re able to step away from taking the existence of competitor businesses personally you won’t just be able to approach the challenge of running a business more clearly, you might also discover an unexpected resource.

The stress and isolation of leaders is a much-documented phenomenon in the business world. As you’re the person the buck stops with, it can be difficult to have an equal relationship with the people working for you. You are isolated by virtue of your position. Finding a way to diffuse this sense of loneliness and build a network of trusted peers who you can trust to be honest with you, and who have to insight to meet you as an equal is necessary to avoid depression and burnout.

Some of the few people who can understand the difficulties you have to deal with are your competitors! Even if during office hours you’re vying over the same customers, you might discover an unexpected bond if you meet socially. Building yourself a professional network of your peers gets you access to insights, recommendations and most crucially, people who understand what it’s like to be a leader in your industry!