Most companies don’t know who their biggest competitor is.

When asked, they might list another company providing the same goods or services.

Often, ones which are a similar size to how large they are now.

Or in some cases, they may list smaller, younger startups who provide a new innovative product which appeals to their target customers.

But in most cases, this is not a company’s real competition.

Almost every company’s biggest competitor is non-usage.

Target companies or consumers in the market who are not using any product or service similar to yours.

Or at best, using an outdated system to achieve the results which you want to provide.
In a variety of situations and markets, the people not using a category of product will far outnumber those who do. This is the huge, invisible target market.

As an example, toy company LEGO is not just competing with other toy manufacturers for the attention of children. They are competing with everything else that children spend their time doing, including reading, playing sports, talking with friends, watching TV and even time just using their imagination.

Similarly, if you run a video production company for small businesses, then your biggest competitor is not other video production companies in your local area, or even the various online video production software services. Your real competition is all the reasons preventing target customers even thinking about video production, resulting in a huge amount of non-usage. They do not perceive value in your offering, either from your company or any other provider.

If you want to successfully innovate, one of the core activities is not finding out which similar companies are being used, but instead finding out why non-users are not using any. Then you can find ways to address those reasons and raise your perceived value until you can turn non-users into users.

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Creativity & Innovation expert: I help individuals and companies build their creativity and innovation capabilities, so you can develop the next breakthrough idea which customers love. Chief Editor of Ideatovalue.com and Founder / CEO of Improvides Innovation Consulting. Coach / Speaker / Author / TEDx Speaker / Voted as one of the most influential innovation bloggers.