All business and all organizations have competitors. Competition means comparison. Before any choice is made, alternatives must be compared so that the best alternative can be chosen. Thinking of competition in any more narrow way is always a strategic mistake.
Thinking of competition in terms of companies that offer a similar product or service similar is fatal. Thinking of competition as being limited to traditional market spaces is also fatal. Thinking of competition as being limited to meeting similar needs is also fatal. The Post Office has no competition, right? Then what is email? Automobile manufacturers didn’t make buggy whips, but all those buggy whip companies went out of business anyway. From every decade, there are hundreds of such examples.
In business competition, anything that potential customers can spend their dollars on instead of your product is a competitor. The biggest issue is usually not which product is best but “do I need it at all?”. The biggest competitor for every product and every business is “no sale”. We may not go into a grocery store unless we want to buy something, but this isn’t true for most retailers. Many people come into the store to look but never buy. Think of all the products that are viewed online, where no purchase in that category is ever made.
The problems of competition are the problems of comparison, that is, how people see our products and services in terms of the priority of their needs. The problem is one of improving our position in the way people see their priorities. This isn’t done by thinking about any narrow definition of competitors. Indeed, the secret is usually knowing how to escape from those narrow definitions.