“I’m going to wipe out my competition”! How many times have I heard that from business owners? It’s not just limited to small businesses; look at the mega corporations that are out to gain the entire market share for the product or service they produce. This topic came to mind this evening when we were talking about “apps” for smart phones. The topic centered on one specific app that was available only through one brand of smart phone.
Business success should not have to be achieved only when others fail. I have yet to find any business that offers a product or service that needs every customer in the world in order to be termed “successful”. In all cases, there is room for a business to market its strengths and differentiate itself from the competition and still be successful along with other successful competitors.
Perhaps the question that should be asked is “How do you define success”? if successes is measured according to your values then, in most cases, there is more than enough business for everyone to prosper.
At the age of 21 I opened my first business. My father asked me to go to Los Angeles and to spend some time with a friend of his that had a very successful business offering the same service that I planned to offer. I spent two weeks with my mentor (didn’t use the term mentor at that time) and learned so much. The one lesson that surprised me the most and that I adopted as my own philosophy I will share as a story: I stayed at my mentor’s home for my two week session. The second morning ( at 6am) I was invited to attend his weekly breakfast meeting. in my mind I imagined meeting with his management team, or important community leaders, but instead there were 9 other men around the table, which represented the largest firms in Southern California that offered the same service my mentor did.
These were all his competitors! They didn’t “hate” each other! For two hours they spoke about the state of their industry, new trends in their field and about the economy as it related to their industry. The last topic was a sharing of issues about which they asked advice from the other team members.
After breakfast we went to his office and visited about the morning meeting. This group has been meeting for over 12 years, every week for two hours. Unless someone was ill, had an emergency, or was involved in a critical matter, they were at the meeting. They gathered together to support each other, to share their knowledge and to help each other grow. Each of these businesses were very profitable and all those in attendance were “pillars” in their community.
Each of these people added value to each other’s companies. They were competitors but also had a love for their industry and knew that there was more than enough business to go around.
Think about forming a support group made up of people from your own industry… the benefits will definitely surprise you.