1. It’s Misleading
When you’re trying to run your own show, it can be tempting to keep an eye on the ‘competition’. We watch on with curiosity (or resentment) at the *turning over six figures business coach* over here and the *growing by thousands of followers a day lifestyle brand* over there. And while it’s sometimes useful to take a look around and check that you have a point of difference to help you stand out in your market, the thing is: you can never know exactly what goes on behind closed office doors.
As accountants, we see this all the time. The entrepreneur projecting wild success to the world but who’s actually in tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt. The business owner cruising around town in the latest Mercedes, yet they’re going through a nasty divorce and are in the process of splitting up all their assets. The boss with a ‘six figure business’ who’s paying themselves below minimum wage and spending all of their money on advertising. Things are not always as they seem.
Even when people proclaim to be showing the ‘BTS’ or the not so good parts, they’re still heavily curated. You can truly never know what is going on behind closed office doors.
You do not know their overheads. You do not know how many hours they are putting in. You do not know how much help they have. You do not know where they’ve come from and what’s truly motivating them. The fact is — you do not know a lot of things when you try to compare — and so we must be careful not to fill in the gaps by doing that thing that makes an ass out of ‘u’ and me.
2. It’s Notoriously Inaccurate
Another reason why comparison and just ‘taking a look around’ at what everyone else is doing is a whole lotta pointless is that, just like your pelvic floor after a coupla kids, no two businesses will ever be the same.
Sure, they might be in the same industry, but the way they approach their work is different. They might share a target audience, but how they see the ‘problem’ they’re solving for their customers will be different. They might even have a similar structure or business model, but their name, branding, logo, tone of voice, and the channels they use to communicate with their audience will be different. Your business, just like you, is unique.
And while businesses share common challenges and often you can find a great deal of comfort, support and camaraderie in bonding over these shared challenges, there are so many subtleties and nuances to running your business that it can be entirely unhelpful to ‘plug and play’ solutions or strategies that have been successful for others. You need to find what works best for you, with your specific business model, target audience, overheads, and needs.
3. It’s Distracting
When you spend a good chunk of your time comparing yourself to other people’s achievements, not only are you using up precious time that you probably don’t have in the first place, but you also forget to stop and smell the metaphorical roses in your own back garden (aka all the wins you actually are having in your business).
So busy wondering (or worrying) why another service provider has a far bigger following than you? You missed the fact that you have built some really special and meaningful connections with your followers.
Trying to figure out how they seem to keep getting nominated for awards and you don’t? Take that time and use it to research and apply for one yourself.
Annoyed that you keep launching products to crickets when others are selling out instantly? Look at how much you’ve learned about getting a product to market and share the #fail.
Comparison robs you of celebrating what’s actually happening in your business, or taking the necessary steps to improve it.