I was recently reminded of a great entrepreneurial success story on how a change in your competitive and marketing mindset can open up doors you've never seen before. Unless whatever you do or whatever you sell is completely unique, there are always going to be other players out there that you would consider your competition. If you work for XYZ Dental, your competitors are all those other hundreds of dentists within 10 miles of you as well as those major dental companies. If you own Billy Bob's Oil Change-o-Rama, you're competing against every other grease monkey in town, probably offering a $15.95 oil change.
But consider who you're really up against in the mind of the customer. Sure at the most basic level, its all these other companies that do what you do ... but at a much higher level, before they even consider which dentist to go to, and before their car goes from 3000 miles to 4000 to 5000 or more (you know we've all let it go this long), its often a battle for time. Between work, kids, errands, and whatever else people have going on in their lives, most of your customers are pressed for time - and that is the reason they've been putting of going to the dentist or getting the oil change. Time - thats your real competition.
By realizing that time was their competition, Dr. Arnold Keiles, conceived of providing dental care right where his patients worked in a business now known nationally as Onsite Dental. The company manages the nation's largest fleet of Mobile Dental Practices that make regular visits to major corporate campuses like Cisco, Google, Genentech, Yahoo!, and Sprint. The premise was to make going to the dentist quick and convenient.
Similarly, Office Lube has used a similar business model, providing oil changes at company parking lots. Both are wildly successful companies built on the the premise of saving their customers' time.