Competitive Edge in Business: Lessons From The Eagle
Every business charges forward on the fuel of competition.
There is no idea that is eternally peerless anymore. In a queer way, it always seems someone has tried or is trying a variant of what you are about to accomplish. Even though your innovation is unique, people are constantly thinking up ways that threaten your supposed monopoly.
You can’t be complacent about this “here and now” of everyday business. As clearly expressed by Rosabeth Sanker, “it is dangerous to be playing a cooperative game if one’s opponent is playing a competitive one”.
The trickier story about competition lurks around playing with the big wigs of your specialty—trying to outsmart companies who are bigger in size, scale and influence than yours. For example, you don’t go against Google and expect to win as big in the Search Engine business or can you? These guys not only know the market terrain better, they have the resources to nip your dreams in the bud before you say: Jack Robinson.
For most new businesses like yours, there are already big shots in the field and you are like a speck of dust trying to settle down in a seemingly occupied territory. Your competition has built a level of credibility that your new company can only dream of. They are like the Octopus, stretched proudly into every corner of the market, taking all the scenes by storm and leaving you at the edge of giving up.
Superficially, competition is bad for business. Little wonder it is often received with disdain by insecure entrepreneurs- mostly the ones who do not possess a fledging tactic to capture the market.
In reality, rivalry breeds innovation. It forces your company to look at how to improve itself better than the competition.
Quipped better by Christopher Bartlett, “a company’s ability to innovate is rapidly becoming the primary source of competitive success.” It is the compulsory rule of competition, that prompts companies to seek the untried ways. The drive to win pushes them to meet the consumers’ needs and expand the scale of interests the buyer has. This in itself is the fun and purpose of doing business.
So how do you beat Apple at producing smartphones; Samsung in the electronics business; Linda Ikeji in the Nigerian blogging terrain or is there no hope for your business?
How do you gain a competitive advantage in business?
Remember, there’s hope for every new business. And this hope stays rooted in the fact that every large business empire has a winning principle—a method that has worked for them timelessly.
Their blueprint for success is what makes them so great, but it also leaves them vulnerable to you. Mega companies build their purpose around their winning principle leaving them inherently lazy to shift grounds to other possible options. Studies have shown that successful companies know their blueprints so masterfully; you couldn’t beat them to it! That’s what makes them so great, but it also leaves them vulnerable to you—if you can shift grounds.
Snakes are so wise on the ground, they think twice as fast ahead of your next move to harm them. They’d slither into a corner so tight your weapons couldn’t reach. If you met them in the grass, they’d blend with the greenery you couldn’t be sure of where to look before they stung with a bite.
The eagle teaches us something profound about beating your competitors.
1) First, you can’t fight head to head with your competitor and win. Your competitor, if bigger in capacity than you are, will land your company an easy sting, or bankruptcy—to use the business term.
You must negotiate a win in the market from the position of your strengths: not your weakness.
Surely, you must find an answer to this question of strength if you must indeed win —what is your Competitive Edge? What is your strength? What’s the new thing you are bringing into the market that these big companies don’t have as their blueprint? You obviously can’t beat Apple by trying to produce another type of iPhone!
2) The other tool you must engage is Effective Communication. You must effectively communicate your uniqueness and strengths to your clients. Switch back to your area of strengths—like the eagle takes to the air—where your consumers can see your stellar qualities. Echo your uniqueness through the listening ears of your customers. Let your staff wear this singularity around their necks. Let it show in your work ethics.
You can’t allow your clients the easy chance of comparing you with other players on the field. The quickest way to do that is to attempt to do what other players are doing. The same range of products, the same specs, the same manner of delivery, etc. will only put you in the spotlight of comparison with those who have done what you are doing better and longer than you have. That comparison is not an advantage for a rookie.
Competitive success belongs only to those who can find ways to be unique despite the disadvantage of being in the pack. And every entrepreneur has that uniqueness. Finding it and selling it is the Job of any businessman. That’s how you create the competitive edge in business. I’m not saying, “Join them!” That’s a sure path to frustration. I’m saying “Beat Them!” That’s fun and more profitable!