Indeed, competition is nothing. You can beat the competition and differentiate enough to carve your mini-monopoly whatever your line of trade or business.
Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn quipped that ‘I believe that if you want your company to scale, it’s not enough to beat the competition. You have to break free of the competition altogether. In an ideal world, you do this by going to where the competition isn’t’. One critical way of beating the competition is to focus on your customers.
Amid every perceived competition, your primary duty is to make the customers see your true advantage over others, in what they value, want, and care about. The people you must outdo are your customers and not your competitors. The competition is not your business, the customer is. So, mind your business by ignoring the competition, and focusing on the customers.
Focusing on the customer means that you are not focusing on the competition. The competition doesn’t matter as much as the people you came to the business to serve. Again, focus on the customer and not on what the competition is doing or is not doing.
The competition will find it difficult to compete with a customer that is not considering an alternative outside of you. I can attest to that completely. When you confront the market (your customers) and serve them well like no other, there will be no room for any competition.
You have to keep getting better at serving and satisfying your customers so much so that it would discourage anybody from even trying to compete with you. At this point, you can boldly declare that there is no competition! This could be why Peter Thiel of Paypal said, ‘Don’t try to beat competitors at their own game. You have to invent a new game — and master it’.
Again, the only person you are permitted to compete with is the person and the business you were yesterday. Steward B. Johnson put it thus, ‘Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves –to break our records, to outstrip our yesterday by our today.’
Competition always thins out at the top of the ranks – the point of differentiation where your business truly represents you. Once you are different you are remembered. In a basket containing oranges and one apple, the apple is seen first, and makes a lasting impression in the mind of the observer. Jack Trout, the marketing veteran had the competition in mind when he cautioned, ‘differentiate or die.’
‘Companies that haven’t differentiated themselves from their competition are grooming themselves for failure in today’s changing marketplace.’ That was how Scott McKain summarized it. If you cannot describe how you are unique and worthy of business, nobody would. And if people don’t know what makes you deserve their patronage, they won’t come. Have fun in business doing your own thing. Why waste the time you would have used to improve your product or service competing?
Remember, competition usually sets in when you fail to think outside the box. The consequence is that you end up becoming your false selves. The more you concentrate on doing your thing, the better you become. The better you become, the more you are protected from the competition, and the market would love and respect you for it. Focus on your authenticity. Just be you, and enjoy the experience.