Category: Competition

“It is a curious feature of our existence that we come from a planet that is very good at promoting life but even better at extinguishing it.” ― Bill Bryson

As soon as you achieve any element of success in your business, people will notice.  You’ll have fans.  And you will have competitors.

They will cut prices.  They will say bad things about you and your products.  They will copy your ideas. They may try to defeat you with legal loopholes .  Everyone loves a winner but not for long.

Stay focused on your customers by easing their pain and delighting them in the use of your products.

 

Read “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson

 

BloggingGazelle is written daily by Shawn Carson

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“Never trust a man who doesn’t shine his own shoes.” – Alan Alda from West Wing

This quote has stuck with me for years but it’s meaning has only been revealed through time.

I think it’s about integrity.  It’s about people who make it through their own hard work and leadership rather than attaching their success to the efforts of others.  There are those who create value and the rest who try to leverage that value for rewards not earned.

Borrowing ideas from others to create new value in new markets is part of innovation but using other’s ideas to compete with them is a mere copycat.  Compete by doing something different and better.

 

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“The fact that one or more competitors are operating in the market proves that an opportunitiy exists.” – Rob Adams

I hate to hear someone pitch, “We don’t have any competition”.

For one thing, it shows they aren’t being honest with themselves, let alone me.

For another, if it is true, then there is no market and if there is no market, then there are no customers.  It’s not impossible to create markets from scratch but first movers have the burden of convincing people to be interested.

Finally, it shows they have overlooked the one competitor we all have.  That’s the customer’s decision to do nothing.

If there are a number of competitors in a market with no clear leader, the good news is that there is a defined customer problem but it also means no one has figured out the solution.  Go figure out why and you’ve got a hit.

 

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

If you truly have something new and different, it will cause reactions.  Those that have been waiting for your solution to their problem will sing your praises but those who stand to lose something won’t go away quietly. They will fight you because you are taking something from them; their customers, their profits, their reputation.

Expect both extremes.  In fact, if the reaction is a deafening silence, it’s really bad.  It means no one cares enough to praise or vilify your new product.

On the other hand, when you’ve won over everyone, it’s time to think about what’s next.  The copy cats will find you and you will end up competing on price.  Within two years of its introduction, the iPod took over 90 plus percent of the market share for MP3 players after a long run by Sony’s Walkman brand.  Three years after that, the iPhone showed up and nobody talks about the iPod anymore (much less the Walkman).  I believe this was not a surprise to Apple, nor was it an accident.  Shame… I really like my iPod.

When you reach the top, enjoy the accomplishment and celebrate the moment.  But remember, it’s just a moment.

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

 

“You can’t be serious!!!!” – John McEnroe

McEnroe was a great tennis player.  He is now a great commentator.  He has always been a great entertainer.  Because of his passion, of course, but also because of the way he brought something different to the game.  He was rough at the edges and it made for great, entertaining matches in his time.

I doubt McEnroe woke up one morning and decided that for marketing purposes he would yell and scream when the calls went against him.  I think he was  being who he was, authentic and true to himself.

This went against the establishment which conveyed tennis to be a gentlemanly game, staying politely within the boundaries of good behavior.  And in the long run, the sport was better for it.  Millions tuned in the watch the loudmouth American either win or get his clock cleaned.  As for his ability, he was still one of the best in the world.

Find a reason to be different and don’t let the status quo dictate the way you have to play.  If the rules are stupid, question them, break them, ignore them (but don’t go to jail).  Stand out from the alternatives but still be the best.  Be passionate about being the best.  Find that niche of customers who share your passion.

A market where all the competitors are peddling the same thing; one-upping each other with boring new features,  that’s a group of customers screaming for something new and different.

 

“There are only so many ways to skin a cat, and everyone in your competitive set is carrying the same set of knives.” – Jay Baer

Solving customer pain is vital and fundamental.

If you are in a highly competitive market, your competitors know this and they have their version of the solution.  If you’re first to market, it will be easy to copy your solution and expensive to defend it.

So the question is; “What sets you apart?”  This takes us into the realm of Customer Delight.  Being better includes the customer’s experience using your product and the relationship they form with your company.  It’s not all about features.

 

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

 

“When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.” – Jonathan Swift

Change of any kind upsets the status quo.  Those who create and control the status quo will not like it.  They have a lot to lose.  They employ lobbyists and attorneys to protect the status quo.

Competitors don’t always play fair.  If you create value and manage to achieve success, you will be attacked in some way, right or wrong.

Just ask Herb Kelleher.

Consider the education “industry” where college tuition continues to increase at double digit rates at the same time innovators like Salman Kahn are giving it away.

Create value and your customers will find you.

“Attack The Problem, Not The Competition” – Dharmesh Shah

A market with no clear market leader is a free for all for a lot of competition.  It’s also a sign that no one has figured out the key value proposition.

Competition tends to lead to a comparison of features and it’s an easy stretch to begin attacking the competition for their weaknesses.

This is an arrogant behavior because it takes focus away from the most important constituent, which is the customer. Attacking competitors takes time, effort and energy.  Worse yet, it is a sign of fear.

The winner in the market will be the one who solves the customer’s problem.