Competition and Success

Like you may be doing I’ve been keeping an ear out for the political happenings because this year there’s a business leader out there trying to make change in a very traditional world: Donald Trump. I don’t necessarily want to talk about him today but I read an interesting headline and blurb from the NY Times the other day about him and Hillary Clinton. The blurb read “Anxiety is spreading among Democrats that Mrs. Clinton has yet to find her footing, and that her campaign is still unsure how to combat Donald Trump.” I understand that so many people and businesses see life as one big competition; that everything is about being better/stronger/taller/richer etc. than someone else (or many others). I’ve always said that I believe if we all work together better we’d all be better off and it wouldn’t be necessary to be in competition. I know that some people really thrive on competing and trying to be better than others, but I don’t think it’s always the healthiest option.

If you take the simple example of coffee shops, each one sells coffee, sure, but the exact type of coffee, the additional products they may sell like tea and treats and the atmosphere the shop provides is unique, sometimes even among one family of coffee shops like Starbucks. I believe that having multiple coffee shops for example in an area is fine because we all have our own unique preferences and don’t all like or need the same thing. So often it’s not about one coffee shop being bigger/stronger/more visible than others, it’s about the one you want to go to.

Your business doesn’t have to be better than another (although it may be), it really just has to do 2 things: be unique and be the best it can be for the people who love it. I don’t believe politics should be about highlighting the failures or shortcomings of other candidates. I believe the focus should be on how you’re going to address the concerns the people have and how you’re going to make the world a better place.

In many cases it’s not worth it to try and compete against other similar businesses because you just can’t. Unless you’ve got lots of investors and a really great plan, you’re not going to topple Amazon, Walmart and Target. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t sell things that they sell and be very successful. It just means that you have to figure out how to make it work for you and how to reach your ideal customers. Learn from your “competition’s” mistakes and successes, but always try to do your own thing because you can’t be anyone but who you are.


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