May 15, 2024

How to Not be Scared of Your Competitors pt.1

Every business in the world has its upsides (we call those “superpowers”) and downsides (challenges/weaknesses).

And every single business has competitors with a different set of superpowers and challenges.

The wedding industry, and particularly the wedding venue portion of it, is no exception.

The key to success, every single time, is figuring out two things:

  1. what your venue’s superpowers are and
  2. how you can use them to bring something to the market that your competitors don’t offer.

If you can identify these two things and amplify them in all you do, you will be successful, no matter how big, well-funded, or close by your competitors may be.

Take, for example, our own business, Here Comes The Guide.

We don’t have a ton of direct competitors, but the ones we do have dwarf us in size and resources (especially after they merged).

Consider our challenges:

  • Our competitors have thousands of employees. We are a group of just 23 women, competing head-to-head with them for marketing dollars all across the country.
  • They have a legion-sized salesforce and can cover the entire nation with a wide net. We have 16 salespeople on our team.
  • They have dozens of engineers to work on their website. We have a small but mighty team of 3. 
  • They are venture-funded, we are fully boot-strapped.
  • When they have a challenge, they can create a brand new department and throw resources at the problem. We just have to figure it out.

But at Here Comes The Guide, we do not despair. In fact, we celebrate and amplify our superpowers:

  • We are tiny, which allows us to be nimble and quick. We can zig and zag as the market changes.
  • Every single member of our small, incredibly skilled sales team knows her venues at a deep level and cares about their success. Do we have as many venues on our site as our competitors? No. But we’ve built such great relationships with the ones we do have, we’re able to customize our services to them at a granular level. And we’re growing that pool of gorgeous venues every day.
  • Our team of developers may be small, but we’ve created a website that works amazingly well for the user. Our site is designed to give wedding couples what they need most to find a venue that’s right for them, rather than giving them every single feature it’s possible to develop. We can’t do that—we’re too small—but we CAN be hyper-focused and do what we do really well. 
  • We’re fully bootstrapped, which means we don’t have to run any decisions by a board or a team of advisers. We do what we want, when we want, so we can focus entirely on our brides and wedding venue clients.
  • Our team has a knack for figuring out how to deliver the best possible service to our venues and website users. And we do it together, as a tight-knit group. We find again and again that everything is figure-out-able. In fact, that’s one of our Core Values.

In short, we’re high-touch while our competitors are high-tech. That’s our superpower.

This profoundly personal work style is at the heart of our superpowers and we have doubled down on it in everything we do.

I’m proud of the way we’ve taken on these behemoths and continue to be both profitable and successful. 

And I’m also hoping that hearing about our example helps you think through your own strengths/challenges and competitor sets and come up with a customized plan of action for success.

In my next email, I’ll be drilling down on some challenges you might be having with selling against your competitor set and offering up some ideas on how to double down on your own superpowers instead.

Until then, you knew I’d give you homework.


If you haven’t done it already, make the list above for your venue.

  • What are your venue’s superpowers?
  • How can you use them to bring something to the market that your competitors don’t offer?

Then, begin to noodle on how you can amplify those superpowers, both in your marketing and in conversations with potential wedding couples.

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Meredith Monday Schwartz started at Here Comes The Guide in 1997 (we didn’t even have a website back then—there might also have been dinosaurs running around!) and was a wedding venue specialist for 10 years before taking over as Chief Bossypants in 2007. In the years since she joined HCTG, she’s learned a lot about wedding couples, wedding venues, and running a company profitably and well. To hire Meredith to consult on best practices in your wedding venue business, email