Competitive Analysis

Competitive Analysis: The Wrong Angle

The longer I conduct business, the more obvious it seems that running a business is not; in fact, a competition. And if business is not a competition, competitive analysis is rendered an utterly pointless pastime of the entrepreneur.

Business is Not a Competition

It’s essential to recognize that despite appearances, business is not a competition. Business, like life, is fundamentally about collaboration, innovation, and value creation. Adopting a non-competitive mindset allows for a more holistic view of doing business. Instead of constantly looking over your shoulder, focus on fostering partnerships, engaging in ethical practices, and contributing positively to your industry and community.

This approach acknowledges that success is not a zero-sum game. Embracing a mindset of abundance over scarcity encourages businesses to explore new opportunities for growth. By emphasizing collaboration and cooperation, businesses can transcend the limitations imposed by a competitive mindset and unlock untapped potential for collective success. Just as it’s impossible to keep up a white lie, participating in a grift economy is not sustainable in the long run and it does not scale. Sustainable success is built on trust, integrity, and a positive approach to business practices.

Customers value and trust integrity, and this trust becomes the bedrock of long-term relationships. The journey to success involves not only achieving financial milestones but also cultivating a positive reputation that resonates with customers and partners alike. Paradoxically, refusing to engage in competitive business practices will provide you with the biggest edge! A fun side-effect is that you’ll be much happier seeing opportunities rather than obstacles on the horizon.

You won’t want to spend much of your time hassling others, reporting to others, or competing with others in any way, shape, or form. For your money machine to work, you have to want to spend much of your time, energy, and effort improving both yourself and the general goodness of the technical or craft trip you are into.

Don Lancaster. (1978). The Incredible Secret Money Machine

Your “Competitors” Are Already Winning

Your so-called “competitors” are already winning. They’re winning in their own ways, based on their individual journeys, resources, and perspectives. Attempting to replicate their strategies might lead you down a path that doesn’t align with your business’s core identity. Engaging in competitive analysis can inadvertently shift your focus away from your unique strengths, values, and experiences that make your business distinct.

Rather than fixating on external benchmarks, concentrate on understanding and leveraging your own strengths. Embrace the diversity that makes each business unique, and use that distinctiveness to carve out your niche in the market. Your true competition should be your past self, continuously striving for improvement and growth based on your evolving understanding of your business and its place in the world.

Remember the Pepsi Challenge?

Did Pepsi win by trying to trick people into thinking Pepsi was Coca-Cola?

This was probably far less effective than telling folks Pepsi was simply
“the taste of a new generation”

Chasing Metrics That Matter

In the pursuit of success, it’s easy to get caught up in chasing metrics that seem to define industry leaders. However, focusing on these metrics alone can lead to a misguided sense of accomplishment. Instead, redirect your attention to why you started your business in the first place.

Identify your biggest fans—the loyal customers who resonate with your brand, values, and offerings. Cultivate a customer-centric approach, putting your dedicated supporters at the forefront of your business strategy. By prioritizing those who appreciate and value what you do, you build a community that transcends the transient nature of competitive trends.

Know Your Fans
Know your fans and focus on them.

In conclusion, success in business is not about outdoing others; it’s about becoming the best version of yourself. A non-competitive mindset, a celebration of uniqueness, and a focus on meaningful metrics will not only set you apart in the market, but also contribute to a sustainable and fulfilling business journey. So how do we redefine success? We can start by shifting our perspective from competition to collaboration and from imitation to innovation.

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