Running a business means taking a fair bit of rejection. This company is no exception.

Rejection is part of life... does it mean we should be afraid of competition? Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/telemax/7035075623/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Rejection is part of life… does it mean we should be afraid of competition? Of course not. Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/telemax/7035075623/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Just a few weeks ago, we lost a bid on a large project to another company. It was a project was local, run by people we know, and matched our skill set. It would have also kept both Alice and I paid for three months. The loss felt not just expensive but very personal.

Fast forward to this past weekend being at a conference with other web developers. A lot of them are way more established, experienced, or otherwise ‘more than’ Breaking Even.

What do these two unrelated events have in common?

Every so often, in a moment of insecurity, I sometimes worry about ‘the competition’.

Ninety eight percent of the time, I relate to ‘the competition’ as I do at a conference. We can learn from each other and be valuable colleagues to one another. But sometimes, I feel a pang of insecurity. It’s not very attractive, helpful, or really very realistic.

Here’s why so-called ‘competition’ isn’t going to get me down, and shouldn’t get you down either.

The internet is huge… and getting bigger.

That’s to say there is a lot of work to do: millions of websites to create, marketing campaigns to implement, blogs to grow. There is more then enough for everyone in my industry and everyone wanting to enter it to work now into retirement.

Not online? In your business, you have a bigger market then you think you do and new people entering it all the time. (You may just need a new way to reach them.) Think about it and I’m sure you realize this is true no matter your industry.

We all need colleagues to do better work.

What’s the best way to understand something better? Listen to several people explain the same thing. Read multiple books by different authors on the same topic.

The more people in your industry, the more quickly it can improve and the better you can become. As the keynote speaker Paul Orwig said at the conference (a proverb): “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Companies are run by people.

People are unpredictable. Most of the time, this can be super annoying.

But sometimes that’s a good thing. For example, a web developer leaves the field… and offers you all their clients. Your businesses merges with another. Your business and another look for ways to collaborate on a common project.

We are all moving around all the time, leaving the work force, coming back into the work force, changing companies, creating companies, retiring.

The larger your network of people in your field (your ‘competition’), the more likely you can take advantage of opportunities like the ones above.

So as you see, ‘competition’ is the wrong way to think about it. It’s why I never use that word except when I think it in a moment of insecurity… about myself.

When a potential client invokes it (usually to get me to come down on a price), I tend to want to run far away from that client, not think badly about Company A.

Colleagues. That’s what I have. And that’s what you have to. And in those moments where you feel ‘less than’ remember that that’s how you’re feeling about yourself… and get back to work.