Approaching ‘Competition’

I’ve noticed that you can think about competition one of two ways.

One group of people focuses their energy on besting the other competitors. The other obsessively improves their own behavior.

Here’s an example of each type:

Beat Everyone Else

Know what they’re doing at all times, then do one better.

When your competition does a promotion, you do one that’s 5% better. When they run attack ads, run attack ads right back. Monitor their every move to beat them at their own game.

If you’re better than all of your competitors then, by default, you’re the best.

Here’s an example:

Verizon isn’t communicating the intrinsic value of their service, just saying that it’s better than AT&T’s.

Beat Yourself

Improve until you can’t anymore.

You know how to do better. Focus your time on making that happen. Block out external influences.

Once you can perform at your best, ‘winning’ (as in beating an opponent) follows.

Now watch Kobe talk about competition:

Getting “better permanently” means perfecting yourself. He doesn’t mention the competition once. It’s all about performing at the top of his game.

Which are you?

  • Generally, I don’t respond well to negative advertisement. I am a bit more tolerant of general negative advertisement (we’re better than everyone) than specific negative advertisements (we’re better than AT&T). With negative advertisements, you have to make one big leap of faith: You have to accept the already want your type of product or service. Comparing yourself with your competition does nothing for people who aren’t even convinced they want the thing you offer. Promoting yourself and showing what value you can add to the customer, however, can convince someone who had no intention of getting a product to reconsider. But then you may run into another problem: You might just convince someone to buy someone else’s product!