Business is a highly competitive landscape, so prepare for war. Whether you are just starting out or you’ve been in business for so many years; the competition is always there!
Competitive warfare is good for business; they help kick out the lazy entrepreneurs from the scene which ultimately improves the industry. The presence of competitions in any industry is an indication that the market is profitable.
So if you are one of those lazy entrepreneurs who are constantly trying to create or discover a business idea with zero competition, congratulations, you’ve just found one sure way to kill your business from the beginning.
Instead, the right mindset you should have about competitions is to equip yourself and business for competitive warfare. On the battle field, its kill or be killed, there’s no room for second chances. The same is true of business – its warfare!
So stop looking for that Holy Grail business idea that you can monopolize and focus instead on creating a superior value offering that can give you a competitive advantage. The goal of entrepreneurship is not to avoid competition; the goal is to beat the competition. And to do that, you need to prepare for competitive warfare.
3 Battle-tested Strategies for Competitive Warfare
This unusual article is going to help you identify practical battle-tested strategies that you can adopt for competitive warfare. You will learn how to thrive in the midst of competitions.
If you are ready, let’s dig in!
1. Be OFFENSIVE Rather than DEFENSIVE
Your first battle-tested competitive warfare strategy is a never ending strategic offense. This is the best form of defense against the competitions. Staying on the fence and watching the whole game being played around your industry is going to get you killed faster than when you are the one dictating the game.
If you didn’t get into the game of business to influence how it’s being played in your chosen industry, then why bother being in the game at all?
Unusual entrepreneurs don’t sit back and watch while others play the game, hell no! They re-invent the game, re-define the playbook and raise the bar of the game to a whole new level. This is what it means to be an entrepreneur – to change the game!
You can’t afford to be on the reactive side of the game, waiting to defend all the bullets that are being fired at you, no way. Your role as an unusual entrepreneur who got in the game is to be the one firing the bullets that is going to change the whole industry.
You are to take the fight to them while they are still wallowing in their old ways of doing business as usual. Remember, you are not the status quo entrepreneur who always wants to keep things the way they have always been. You are a game changer, a fire starter!
You are in that line of business to make a difference. You are in that industry to revolutionize it. You are the voice of the customer, a solution provider to the problems they face. You are the underdog strategically positioned to topple the existing traditional industry gatekeepers.
So constantly be on the offensive; always be attacking. The following competitive warfare strategies are guaranteed ways of consistently being on the offensive rather than defensive.
Never stop innovating. When last did you come up with something new in your business? Your company’s capacity to consistently create industry breaking trends insulates it from the competition.
With every innovative product or service you consistently come up with, you are keeping the competitions further and further away from you. So don’t ever settle; the way to win is to stay ahead of the competition always and not behind!
All products are in demand. If they are not buying from you, then they are buying from the competitions and that’s because you lack marketing. Marketing is an opportunity to fight for the customer’s money. If you don’t show up, you don’t have a chance to get the customers money, period.
Showing up increases your odds of being the preferred option among the different alternatives competing for the customer’s money. The more you show up the more you increase your odds of being chosen. It’s all about odds. Only those who show up have a fighting chance to win the customer’s money.
But don’t just show up for showing up sake; you have to make sure when you are showing up you are making a good impression that can differentiate you from the competitions, spark up interest and lead to sales.
Continuous Learning and Development
Ideas are the weapons of competitive warfare and the business with the best executed ideas wins. Continuous learning and development is how you equip yourself with more practical ideas to consistently launch an offensive rather than being defensive.
When you lack ideas, you will always be on the defensive when the competitions come fighting. So step up your learning curve because any knowledge gained is an additional weapon in your competitive arsenal.
2. STAND for SOMETHING
Your second battle-tested competitive warfare strategy is to stand for something. The world makes a way for the man and woman who clearly know where they are going. Clarity about who you are, why you exist and where you are taking your business are the keys to winning the competitions.
You don’t want to be caught up in the fog of ambiguity. You shouldn’t ever try to be like everyone else in your industry. That’s one sure way to get lost in the marketplace. Customers don’t give a damn about another new “me too” or “wannabe” business that just opened up.
If you want the market to clearly pick you out amidst the marketing noise out there in your industry and from all the existing competitions, then you’ve got to clearly stand for something. Don’t fall victim of joining in their ongoing fight, create and define your own battle.
Don’t run after the same target customers they pursue, create and define your own niche market. Your objective as an unusual entrepreneur in a crowded industry is not to become another crowd member, but to become the king of your niche.
This is exactly what Microsoft did when they got into the computer business by creating the software that invented the personal computer product category. Apple followed suit by differentiating themselves as the PC for the crazy ones, the unusual ones on a mission to change the world.
Define your market and lead them through the revolutionary products and services you create. No matter how big or alluring the existing market is, your task as an unusual entrepreneur is to create and define your own path to the market not following the existing ones.
When they know what you stand for and that its significantly different [unique] and making a difference [useful] from what all others are offering; then you can stop worrying about the competitions.
3. Build a TRIBAL TEAM
Your third battle-tested competitive warfare strategy is to build a tribal team. Business is a highly competitive terrain and to win the war against your competitions, you need an army. Your odd of not being defeated in the battlefield is highly dependent on the quality of your army and their commitment to the mission.
In business your army is your people, your team. They make or break your company. As a matter of fact, your team is one of your greatest competitive advantages in business. So prioritizing the caliber of people that you let in on board is one of your fundamental assignments as an unusual entrepreneur.
Since you are not the average company who do business as usual [doing average things]; you will need more than an average team to work with, you need a tribal team.
A tribal team is a group of like-minded exceptional individuals bound by shared values working together to achieve a shared vision much greater than their individual interests for the collective good of the company, their customers and the world at large.
My favorite definition of a tribal team comes from marketing guru and author Seth Godin:
“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.”
They are the business equivalents of US Navy SEALS – specially selected, rigorously trained, tenaciously disciplined and passionately committed to the tribe and the mission. These qualities set them apart from your everyday army.
To create such a tribal team, you need to pay attention to the following;
You don’t recruit just anybody; you recruit ONLY exceptional individuals – people who clearly stand out in their respective fields.
“In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation’s call. A common man with uncommon desire to succeed. Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America’s finest special operations forces to serve his country, the American people, and protect their way of life. I am that man!” – US Navy Seals
Values define the character of the team, the more aligned the better. You don’t want a team with conflicting values – that’s the perfect recipe for disaster!
“Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.” – US Navy Seals
That they are exceptional individuals doesn’t mean they have all it takes; you still need to thoroughly drill them to keep bringing out the best in them.
“The lives of my teammates and the success of our mission depend on me – my technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete. We train for war and fight to win.” – US Navy Seals
Without a disciplined team who constantly has their eyes on the mission; your business can quickly turn into a gamble – trial and error. You need people who have the staying power to follow one course until they succeed.
“We demand discipline. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men.” – US Navy Seals
The worse people to have on your team are those who are in it only for the ride – they fizzle out when the going gets tough. You need not only starters, but also finishers.
“If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight!”
– US Navy Seals
In the heat of the battle, you may not always be around – you need people who can also take on the heat and do what is expected with or without your presence.
“We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations.” – US Navy Seals
The 3 battle-tested strategies listed above are your weapons for competitive warfare. So stop being afraid of competitions, instead, equip yourself for war!