This saying from ancient Greek, “know thyself”, is often used as a warning against boastfulness. That’s good advice when it comes to describing your competitive advantage.
You don’t want a value proposition that merely says you are better than the competition. Indeed, you don’t want a value proposition that talks about your competition at all.
On the other hand, it helps to know and understand your direct competition.
You want to know who else does exactly what you do.
Direct competition is not a problem, it’s just a fact of business.
For every successful business, you can probably name a direct competitor. Apple has Microsoft, Coca Cola has Pepsi, Kellog’s has Post, Nike has Adidas, and so on. (Or the other way around, depending how your allegiances lie).
There is always space for multiple players.
Your job is not to know how you are better than your direct competition: it’s to know how you are different.
And, yes: you are different.
You want to understand your competition. You should know who they are and what they offer. Do they pursue certain types of clients, and if so, why. There is always information about how they service clients, how they market, and how they charge, that you should be able to find.
You want to understand your competition, but mainly so you can describe yourself.
Your competitive advantage is not about your competition. It’s about you.
Create your own story. Always know how you are different.
You can’t build a Buyer Journey without understanding why people don’t buy from you.
Call me for an assessment on your competitors and objections.