Alert - Your competition forces you to stay vigilant. They remind you that they are out there hunting for the same clients. They will steal your clients as soon as you show weakness. They are always out there reminding you and your prospects that we live in a world with many options. If you pay attention to them, you will learn about their ups and downs. They keep you on your toes. It's like going to the gym. It involves a lot of sweating, but in the end you are a better person for putting your body through the torture.
Stand Out - Competition can help you stand out. The very essence of competition is that some are above others. I know that in two minutes you could list the top players in any competitive market. The competition doesn't destroy great brands it helps them stand out. Customers demand competition. Somehow it doesn't feel right to make buying decision without considering your options and your customers feel the same way.
Amplify - Your competitors will make your errors seem larger. When you lose a client to a competitor it hurts. Instead of climbing under a rock and feeling sorry for yourself you can try learning what they did that was so good that they took the risk of firing you and going with a new company. Just as it hurts to lose to them winning over one of their clients is sweet revenge. Winning and losing are intensified when you competitors are part of the equation.
Confidence - Customers feel more comfortable when they can choose between competing companies. Competition enables them to choose from multiple vendors with confidence, in case something goes wrong. They understand that if there is a screw up they can turn to a competitor to get bailed out.
Productivity - Competitors can boost your productivity. Some of your greatest rivalries could serve as the greatest boost to what you can accomplish. A competitor might offer a service for less than you because they are more productive than you are, giving you a chance to examine your internal processes. Their employees might use better tools than yours. or they might have more up to date information available to them. Their teams might gel better than yours.
Friendship - Yes, it is possible for you to be friends, even friendly with you competition. You see it in sports and it exists in business too. It is a big market out there and there is room for great companies. Competition makes you a better business, sort of a friends with benefits.
Partnership - Seems crazy to some, but many companies partner with their competition. Partnering with others, even if they are competing with you, can help you grow your company. Your company might serve another geographical market then them, or they might not be able to take on as much new business. If you have a partnership, you can each succeed.
Believe me. Your competitors will not roll over and hand you their customers, but you need them to succeed. Of course not all competition is good; however frustrating you may find them, you need competitors. When you live in the moment you might want to drive them out of town, but you couldn't’t have long term success without them. Learn from them, or use them to make you more productive. Heck make friends with them or even form a partnership with them.