I recently had to come face to face with two experiences involving one's competitors.
In one of the societies, where I serve actively, I proposed to promote a service provided by another company. A fellow committee member suggested that the service would be in direct competition with something our committee already did, and we should not facilitate such initiatives. This even though we recognised that the service provided by the external party was better than what the committee provided. After some discussion, we implemented the initiative by way of an experiment; our members are delighted!
I went into a computer shop to purchase 2 items. A salesman provided me both items. As I was about to pay, he asked me if he could be honest me. I said okay.
He then told me I should not buy one of the items since another shop in the same area was having a promotion on that item. I was impressed by his knowledge of his competitors. I took his advice. Now I go back to his shop frequently for more products and advice!
We should not fear our competitors. We should take greater interest in their work, especially in what they do better than us. We should be willing to use our competitors to delight our customers. We can "co-opt" them. If you do so, you may well find customers coming back to you more often.