5 Competitors You Never Knew You Had (And What to Do About Them)

Starting a business is never easy. To have the highest chances of success it’s vital to know who your target audience is and who you are competing against. When most entrepreneurs think of competition they are thinking of direct competitors who sell similar products or services in similar ways. They often overlook other competing forces in the market that could become a barrier to them reaching their business goals. What you don’t know can hurt your business, so we have listed 5 competitors you may be fighting against that you never knew. Knowing what these 5 competitors are will help you to avoid the pitfalls many owners face when trying to become successful business owners. 


One of your biggest competitors in whatever market you’re in is advancing technology. Technology is a good thing since it typically allows you to accomplish more with less resources and time. However, as a business owner it’s important that you always keep a look out for technology that could pose a threat to your business. Typically this threat comes as technology that will either replace or displace your business. For example, if you sell fitness training that you conduct in a gym with clients. You should consider that technology now allows mobile apps to walk your clients through the same training exercises with animated or video demonstrations, progress tracking, and accountability metrics, all in the palm of their hand with a mobile phone. This is your competitor, rather you like it or not and should be considered in your plan for success. 

Indirect Markets

Unfortunately, the industry your business is a part of is not the only business you have to worry about. You also must think about indirect industries that are separate from your business but have the ability to impact your market indirectly. Sometimes you have to make adjustments with how you present or deliver your goods or services to accommodate for threats from other industries. For instance, if you run a flower delivery business, you are not only competing with other businesses that sell flowers. Because the flower business is a part of a more general business category called “gift” business, you also are competing for the dollars flower delivery customers might spend on sending their loved one a box of candy instead of flowers. 1-800-FLOWERS, Inc. realized this years ago and started selling nearly as many other “gift” items as they do flowers in order to address this indirect competitor. Use this model in your own business to deal with competition from indirect markets. 


Unbundlers are competitors that form niches of a market from a larger market. For instance Netflix was the first successful movie and tv live streaming service. Once Netflix became successful with its service, there were businesses that were started specifically to form a niche of what Netflix created. If you serve a general audience with your business, be ready for unbudlers to make niche businesses that compete with your company. To address this, consider adding products and services that appeal to customers that might be interested in these niches. 


The industry of freelancers is real. In the United States there are over 57 million freelancers and if they provide services that your business provides they could possibly become your competitors. You can position yourself in a better position to compete against freelancers by presenting your business as a stable option that is there for your customers for the long term as opposed to a freelancer that may be here today and no longer freelancing tomorrow. 

Offshore Workers

Whether you like it or not, it’s a small world. Depending on what your business sells, you are increasingly in competition with people who are able to deliver services and products from another location that is thousands of miles away. Be ready to compete with a content marketer from Hong Kong, China, Uganda, and many other places around the world. You can compete well against offshore services as long as you can position yourself as a more trustworthy and visible option compared to your offshore competitors. 


Competition is not simply a business offering the same products and services but any entity that could possibly redirect customers away from your business. You can always address these competing forces by applying the strategies in this post. For templates and easy way to plan your business to overcome these competition challenges, get started with the best business plan builder on the internet at businessplanking.com/