There is a story I’d like to share; perhaps you’ve heard it. Two business owners were situated across the street from each other. The problem was these two men despised each other. Each merchant sold similar merchandise and were consistently at work trying to best the other in everything. When one got a customer he would stick out his tongue at the business owner across the street and laugh wildly. One night as these rivals were sleeping God came to one of them in a dream, “I am tired of your behavior,” God said. “Tonight you must decide what I can do for you that would make you happier than anything else in the world. I will do this for you if you will simply stop bickering with your rival across the street, I can make you wealthy, give you a long healthy life or anything else your heart may desire. You can choose anything you wish. What would please you?” The man pondered for a moment and was about to answer when God continued, “You must understand there is a condition to granting your fondest desire.” “What is that?” the man asked in his dream. “Whatever I give you I will give your competitor twice as much of the same,” God said. The man thought a moment and replied, “I would like to be blind in one eye.” Perhaps it was this premise that brought “You’ve Got Mail” to the big screen. Of course this was a remake of the Jimmy Stewart classic, “The Shop Around the Corner.” In this 1998 film Joe Fox is a high-class businessman who, although not an intentionally bad individual, is developing a store that will put a neighborhood bookstore out of business. Never mind the fact that the struggling store has been around for decades or that the owner knows more about books than Joe ever will. Meanwhile, Joe has developed an email romance with a woman he has yet to meet. In the end the woman he had fallen for turns out to be the owner of the bookstore closed by his business decision. The rivalry between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan is at counterpoint to their personally engaging emails. On one hand they really like each other and on the other they really don’t want anything to do with each other. As an online business owner you have the chance to concentrate more on the needs of your customers than on the competition that is found throughout the web. You do not need to view other websites as rivals. By spending time concentrating on growing an organic email list, developing traffic and ensuring you have positive Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies in place, and developing customer trust you will have the greatest potential to develop a business that is about more than rivalry. In a best-case scenario you have a greater capacity to meet the needs of your customers because that is where your focus will be. And when you focus on the customer they recognize and respond.