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22 February 2014

Getting Creamed While Looking in the Rear View Mirror

How do you handle competition?

If you’re the market leader or have a nice slice of the pie, you’re always on the lookout for the challenger.

But what does that look like? Are you always looking over your shoulder, trying to keep one step ahead or out in front?

How much time are you spending looking in the Rear View Mirror?

Looking in the Rear View Mirror for the Competition

If that sounds like you, consider the “Rear View Mirror” in a metaphor to understand how it can backfire in your business.

What can happen when you take your focus off the road/business?

  • You swerve big for obstacles instead of making smaller, more calculated adjustments
  • You can miss signs along the way—
    STOP
    Slow Down for Curve
    Exit Here
  • You can get T-Boned by a great big bus
  • You don’t pay attention to the fuel gauge and run out of gas
  • You don’t notice your check engine light and stop for maintenance
  • You tend to slow take your foot off the gas to keep a closer eye on the competition

I’m not suggesting you ignore the competition behind you, but if you’re always looking behind you, a competitor can sneak out of the alley and zoom past youyou never saw it coming. Just ask Coke about Snapple or Gatorade. It was much easier to think they were only battling Pepsi when those two new beverages created a secondary market category that managed to siphon off share. Take a look around Detroit to see how Big US Auto fared in their race with each other. Oops, how’d those other countries sneak in there?

Instead of innovating and looking ahead, sideways, or getting an aerial view, their focus was myopic and they missed opportunities to fill consumer desires.

What if your approach to competition was to take your eyes off the Rear View Mirror? Look around, take a dirt road, climb a couple of thousand feet in the air and take a big picture perspective? What could you observe? What needs do you observe? What desires are not being met by your consumers?

Can you out Innovate your competition instead of out running them?

Until next time, keep kickin’ butt!
—sks

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