In the world of business, competition seems to be everything. But knowing where to draw the line regarding how you strive to live up to, or surpass, that competition can be tricky. While the traditional rule of thumb is to surpass the competition, there are plenty of reasons why you should aim to fall short of it, instead. Falling short can actually be a smart move and can set you much farther apart from the competition – in a good way.
Defying Traditional Thought
In business, everyone is always try to one-up one another. Common logic says that if the competition has 10 options, you need to offer 11. If they deliver something second-day, you need to do it overnight. If they do something for $500, you had better do it for $499 or less. But is that really a smart approach to pulling ahead, or is it just a case of getting caught up in an escalating rat race?
The problem with this approach is that constantly one-upping the other guy eventually traps you. While you are engaged in one-upping, you will stop innovating, and when you do that you will lose focus on what the client wants and needs. Rather than focusing on making your product or service better, you are essentially engaged in a big beat ‘em fest, and it may ultimately put you out of business.
Rather than trying to win the rat race with your competitors, focus on doing less than the competition. You read that right – I’m suggesting that you focus on doing less because, by doing so, you will actually do better. Not only will you become known for doing what it is that you do, but you will stop spinning your wheels in an endless effort to keep up with others. When you can focus on the few things that you do, you can do them well and, in the long run, grow your business.
Consider how other popular businesses have adopted this approach. When the deli down the street offers 100 sandwich options, why not have your business offer just three options? This is the same type of concept that has helped Chipotle succeed in the Mexican food business. Mrs. Fields took the concept of a bakery and whittled it down to focusing just on cookies. Five Guys Burgers and Fries took the fast-food burger concept and dumped the clutter, to focus on just the burgers and fries.
It doesn’t stop there! Examples of businesses that have been successful under-doing the competition abound. Instead of trying to be the most feature-rich digital camera in the world, do what Flip did by putting out a small, sleek and super-simple camera that anyone can use! There are many examples of companies using this concept and excelling at it, and there’s no reason why you can’t do the same!
Less is More
One company that has taken this concept and carried a lot of money to the bank with it is the WD-40 company. They first started selling the concoction out of the trunk of their car, back in the 1950s. That small company went on to sell over $321 million worth of WD-40 in 2010. While their sales have soared, their product line has not. To this day, they still only sell WD-40, although now they sell it in multiple formats, such as spray can, no-mess pen, etc.
If they can do it with a lubricant used on squeaky doors, among other things, you can do it with your product. Forget about keeping up with the competition. Focus on what you do well, perfect it, and become known for that one product. When you do that, you will become what other companies begin trying to keep up with!