Competition in a broad sense can be any business that offers a similar service or product to the same market. Some competitors are direct (apples to apples) and some are indirect (apples to oranges). The details are what determine whether it is an apple or orange. Many times the market (your ideal clients) will not be aware of the details and so it is up to you to educate them.
I notice that many small business women do not like to talk about competition because it makes them uncomfortable. It makes them uncomfortable because they are afraid if they assert themselves people will not like them. Or that by evaluating the competition they will be forced to discover their own weaknesses. So instead of facing what they fear (competition) head on, they skirt around the issue.
The problem is you have to know your competition’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as your own. If you want a sustainable business it is your responsibility to educate yourself about the differences and similarities between you and your competition. The benefit to knowing this information is it allows you to better explain your value to potential customers, overcome buying objections, and identify opportunities for business development.
Competition is healthy because it forces us to be the best version of ourselves by looking for ways to improve our customer experience, service, processes, and develop new offerings. Without competition it allows businesses to become complacent. The businesses that are complacent have a short life and are overtaken by the competition.
There is a lot more to discuss on this topic, but in the meanwhile, I encourage you to start with an assessment of your competitors. Educate yourself about the differences and similarities so you can be better prepared when facing potential clients.