Staying ahead of the game and in particular your rivals is something of human nature, but more importantly it is a vital component of successful business. What your competition do should be important to you and looking to out-think your competition should be high on your list of goals.
Innovate and be creative
It’s a well known pub fact that the man that made that widget that widgets that widget in your widget is a millionaire. In fact there is a lot o truth in that. Many of the millionaires in this country – most often those already into early retirement on the golf course – did indeed invent some small innovative piece of engineering which the patented and licensed to industry for a pretty tidy sum. Finding a way to overcome a long-standing barrier or finding a way to making huge savings is a sure fire way of finding your way on the route to success. Take a look at your competition and consider what is holding them back from being truly great. Do you have the ability to find that solution? How do you differ from the competition? Which of those differences gives them an advantage over you? How can you overcome that.
Take a winner and make it better
Whilst we all hope for that eureka moment of inspiration, being the best does not necessarily mean being the first. Even despite the various intellectual property protections that big brands apply, the majority of successful businesses are actually second or third generation of tweaks to ideas others already had on the go. Amazon or example wasn’t the first online bookstore. Barnes & Noble had been selling books offline since the 1960s and in the late 1980s sold books online via a joint venture with Sears and IBM called Trintex, with Amazon not launching until 1995. What Amazon did well and Apple did with the mp3 player that already existed, was tweaked and made the offering better.
The early bird catches the worm
OK you may not fancy catching worms but as they also say you have to be in it to win it and in business those who drag their heels or are slow off the mark tend to be at the back of the line. Success comes by being alert to possibilities and being proactive as well as reactive. Only the very luckiest will have things fall in their lap, you need to get out there and make business happen. Go to places your competition isn’t but that your customers may be. Consider diversification that uses all your skills and even all your products for a slightly different market. Famously bubble-wrap was not originally invented for wrapping electrical items to be sent through the post, but actually as a funky-kind of wallpaper.
Whatever approach you take, make sure you do approach it. Don’t ignore your competition, you can only understand industry trends by seeing what they are doing. Yet, also don’t fear them too greatly either. Whatever it is they are doing, it is almost certain you could be doing it as well and doing it better. Step back, analyse, think and consider how you could re-focus an do things just a little bit better to out-think your competition.