Chasing the sun… how about your competitors?

by Pieter le Roux | November 9, 2021

It is one of those instinctive things that a lot of us want (even need) to do… we want to beat the competition. If you are like me, and ‘competition’ is one of your top 10 strengths, then you can revel in the tools that are available today to gather competitive intelligence, analyse your competitors and measure yourself against them. You can even appoint people and organisations that will perform this function on your behalf.

The question should be asked if this approach is wise and will assist in creating a long-term sustainable business model?
I believe the answer to this question is “NO”, as by focusing on your competition you are distracting yourself from chasing the sun (i.e. chasing your vision).

Why do I say this?

Let’s start by considering the definition of ‘competitor’ according to the Collins Dictionary: “A company’s competitors are companies who are trying to sell similar goods or services to the same people.1

Ok, so it is here that I lose my ambition to compete… the definition is correct, competition is still one of my core strengths, but surely you must be distracted from your vision or have a lame vision if you want to be a competitor?

When you are trying to sell similar goods or services it means that you have to share the cake with 100’s if not 1,000’s of other organisations. You may attempt to differentiate yourself based on perceived quality, but most of the time you will be competing on price alone. Competing on price alone and thus thin margins can still lead to building a lucrative business, if you can scale your business sufficiently… Displacing the market leader or staying in the top spot will however be extremely difficult, costly, time consuming and really mess with the consistency of your cash flows.

The distractions with this method will be vast and will most certainly take your eye off the ball when it comes to realising your vision.

A better approach to this is to focus your strategy on your customers or prospective customers in understanding their needs, their risks and business models. In this process you are then able to design a distinct product or service offering that cannot be compared to those of your “competitors”. Once you achieve this, none of your clients or prospective clients would be able to compare your product or service on price alone, thus allowing your organisation to focus on executing your vision and over time ensuring consistency of cash flows in your business.

Truly great or iconic brands or organisations however go even further, a lot further… They have a grandiose vision; are driven to deliver an unmatched experience and they listen and observe on a much deeper level. These are the organisations that change the world.

This (“change the world”) always takes me back to the words of Apple’s Think Different advertising campaign of the late 90’s early 2000’s:

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” 2

At this level; a level where you see no competitors, but your competitors no doubt are gathering intelligence about you, analysing your success and measuring themselves against you… you have become their biggest distraction.

To reach this level is not simple, not easy and by no means happens overnight. It comes with blood, sweat, and tears and requires resilience and a never say die attitude – there are however five core ingredients:

  1. A clear vision that is underpinned by your mission and values. Read more about this in an article by Wehan Dreyer:Why bother with vision, mission and value statements?
  2. Good people that buy into your vision.
  3. Investing in the development of your people. Read more about this in my article: What happens when we invest in developing our people?
  4. Consistency. Read more about this in my article: Consistency, the powerful secret to success.
  5. Servant leadership. “Servant leadership is a leadership philosophy in which the goal of the leader is to serve. This is different from traditional leadership where the leader’s main focus is the thriving of their company or organization. A servant leader shares power, puts the needs of the employees first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. Instead of the people working to serve the leader, the leader exists to serve the people.” 3
Focus on keeping up with your customers, not your competitors; this will provide far better insights into your journey towards the sun. We are created to stand out… let’s see the unseen and be willing to be ridiculous.

At wauko we believe that we do not have competitors. This allows us to serve you with a unique offering that truly takes care of your holistic cash flow needs.

Our team of waucreators are equipped and ready to join your business on its journey to greatness. We would love to hear more about your own experiences.


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