My job allows me to travel a bit between our offices. Whenever I get to my hometown, I always try to eat at a restaurant called Nick’s, known for its local cuisine. It serves a special delicacy, a must, called “the garbage plate.” Nick’s has been around serving the Plate since before I was born. 

A few years back, the popularity of the garbage plate soared after it caught the attention of The Food Network. Other restaurants began to offer their versions of the garbage plate: trash plate, junk plate, rubbish plate, etc.—all similar, but not the same.

How would Nick’s cope with the competition? Would regulars still patronize the original or would they venture elsewhere for the knock-off? Would Nick’s survive?

Over time, Nick’s actually got busier. They even opened a second restaurant to accommodate new business. The garbage plate became more popular, as did the knock- offs, so everyone become busier. Nick’s customers stayed with them and many new people stopped in.

Don’t let the fear of competition deter you. Competition is a good thing because it shows you that the market exists. All you have to do is offer a better product or service than your competition. Over time, you will dominate.

Who is staying in the forefront of our geospatial technology that is constantly in flux? It would be simple if things didn’t change. Competing in an ever-changing market where you must explain what you do and the benefits of your services is more challenging. Building documentation is at this point. We have to educate people about their need for our services. The technology is here; we must drive the need. We need more competition, not less.

As knowledge and understanding of building documentation services increase, demand will follow. There will be a growing number of clients thinking, “I’m struggling here and I don’t know how to improve. I need documentation services.” The next question will be, “Who offers the best services?” If you have that reputation, you win.

Competition also affords the client the opportunity for comparison. Your firm may be the best at what you do, but most clients do not have enough experience to appreciate your superiority, at least initially. If they have experienced or heard about a lesser service, they will be able to see the distinction and appreciate your offering much more clearly. And they will pass on their positive experience with your firm to their colleagues.

The truth is that we all do a good job. Everyone’s intent is to do the best. Communicate what you add to the industry clearly and what advantages you offer, and you have everything to gain and very little to lose from competition.