On Competition

The other day I wrote a post about how mindbody attempted to hijack a legitimate quora thread asking about their competitors.

In their attempt to hide this list of their competitors, not only did they make themselves look bad, but it showed that they have a fundamental misunderstanding of what it is exactly they're competing against.

But this mindset, and how we view 'the competition' is often misunderstood amongst businesses of all kinds. It happens in the software world, the world of yoga studios, and almost every other kind of business.

But most likely, your most important competition is something other than your biggest competitor.

Our main competition is not other software makers.

Our competition is apathy. Our competition is people doing nothing. Our competition is fear of cloud based computing. Our competition is the lizard brain inside people's heads that tells them they're not smart enough to embed a calendar into a website or connect a payment system using API keys even though they clearly are.

There are far more people running independent yoga studios with pen and paper than there are people using all of our competitors combined. And it's understanding this that allows us to succeed and compete with companies that have raised millions of dollars while we've organically grown our business without a single dime of outside funding.

But there is a lesson here for the independent yoga studio too.

Your competition isn't the gym down the street, or the chain yoga studio across town, or the private lessons that an instructor you work with is giving to some of your students.

No. Your competition is the same as ours. 

Your competition is people doing nothing. Your competition is the thought in someone's brain that yoga isn't for men. Your competition is the fear beginners have about whether they'll be able to keep up in class.  Your competition is the parent who thinks they're being selfish by taking care of themselves.

Your competition is Facebook, the internet, TV, couches, beer, cupcakes and movies.

Understand this, and you'll have defeated something much greater and much stronger than any business that you might ever have to compete with.