It’s easy to focus on all our business development possibilities, rather than drilling down on those which we – and only we – do exquisitely well. That’s why we have competitors: they focus on producing deliverables more efficiently than we do, in spite of their deliverables not-quite-being what we would have produced. Even if you are a startup in search of early adopters.
Probably because our competitors are not half as creative as we are. Probably because they realize this and focus on what they are capable of producing instead of bemoaning the fact that they can’t do it like we can.
After all, if they can get deliverables out the door into customers’ hands, who knows the difference?
While we are trying to be all things, engineering and sales and start-up, to all people and markets and industries, our competitors are defining the competitive space. Instead of our defining the playing field for them.
We are too busy percolating, thinking the market will wait for our solutions.
Markets wait for no one. Markets are in a constant state of flux. Markets respond to the next big thing. Markets shift in dynamic equilibrium.
While you over-think your competitive positioning, your competitors are out there competing. While you dream up your perfect solution, your competitors are out there talking with potential customers and showing them a minimum viable solution. While you wait to get things right and perfect, your customers are accepting mediocre products touted as high quality.
Your customers and prospects don’t know any better. Because you are too busy percolating stuff inside your head, instead of communicating with them about their unmet needs and industry-related issues, and giving them another option.
Your competitors are the hare to your tortoise. Your competitors get there first. They become the incumbents you end up trying to unseat.
Because there are a lot of customers buying stuff along the way from hares, instead of waiting for the tortoise to show up first at the finish line with superior offerings.
Because you are all over the place, trying to target all sorts of customers simultaneously instead of taking a page out of your competitors’ playbook: be specific, be focused, be there for your customers, become known as their resource.
Because you perceive competitive differentiation as something you get to choose, daily. Because you are so much more talented and insightful than your competition. And you are.
It’s like going into your closet and deciding: “What do I feel like wearing today?” You constantly ask yourself: “What market will I choose to pursue today? What will I try to be today, and to whom? “
Your competition doesn’t have that option any more. They’ve already decided what their style and message is, and their markets and industries which are receptive to their style and message.
They’ve focused on their core capabilities.
Your over-thinking and percolation and contemplation allow them to box you out. You have so much in your professional arsenal that you have too much to choose from.
Instead of making yourself the obvious choice for customers, you confuse them with all of your possibilities.
Your competitors don’t. Their message is clear, concise, focused, and relevant.
They’ve stopped percolating their universe of possibilities. If they even did in the first place.
They are producing results.
High time you did too.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo and business- and revenue-producing collaboration and communication tools to small and mid-sized businesses and startups. Download her newest White Paper at her Free Resources Page. She was named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers 2013. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? focuses on technical / non-technical collaboration strategies and tools. You can download the first chapter here.