It seems like I'm always playing catch up to my main competitors who have been around longer than I have been. I offer better services at better pricing but it seems like they have such a big overall lead on me in terms of brand awareness, more backlinks, bigger advertising budgets, better keyword rankings, etc. that I will never be able to make a dent into gaining more market share. How can I close the gap between my main competitors that seem to have gained a good market share over the years of being in business compared to my recent startup business?
Disclaimer: This advice will only apply in certain cases.
Sometimes a domain upgrade will provide an instant credibility boost for your brand. A natural, authoritative domain name such as Apartments.com can reduce friction for word-of-mouth growth and also render SEM more cost-efficient.
That's one way to gain an advantage and level the playing field between yourself and more established players.
Maybe that isn't possible in your case. Impossible to say without knowing the circumstances.