Are you a leader or not? Your product and brand is worth choosing leadership, in some type of way. If you don’t define your advantage and invest in driving it’s success in a way that evolves to suit your market, you’re choosing to eaten.
Businesses please remember- The road less traveled has the most undiscovered treasure available and typically well-defined audience. In other words, choose to LEAD because it’ll likely have the biggest PAYOUT (brand equity or revenue wise). You can literally create the desire or fulfill a need in a different (doesn’t have to be greater) capacity when you know the customer or have access to know the customer deeply.
As businesses, you make the choice to be lazy and the choice to be a follower. Long processes and sunk costs usually causes companies to fall into the lazy cycle, even when everyone is busy. But what are they busy producing? Usually the time it takes you produce something surpasses the market’s need or unmet desire. Unfortunately, plans continue and competitors with more flexible mindsets are able to tweak things to keep them ahead. A process improvement is a choice. It requires buy-in and sometimes resources, but choice nonetheless. The choice here would be, to never miss a large revenue opportunity again due to a lack of streamlined processes and overestimating timelines.
There are tons of choices out there good and bad. If we ever are discontent with the consequence of our choices we can 1) reverse the choice, 2) find an advantage in the irreversible consequence, or 3) choose differently. What happens if you don’t choose? You’re simply given your placement, and competitors will do their best to make sure it’s at the bottom.
The importance of noting that we have choices is because it allows us to take full responsibility for the level of success and advantage we create for our companies and ourselves. Take the quote below from the investment genius Warren Buffett- he warns against not being willing to choose a path:
“Most people get interested in stocks when everyone else is. The time to get interested is when no one else is. You can’t buy what is popular and do well.” ~ Warren Buffett on investment strategies
Sean Taylor, most notably BrandMan Sean, spoke on committing to DOING THE WORK. It serves as a great followup on Buffett’s advice to being a leader:
“Commit fanatically to a cause and you will figure out how to reach your destination in ways you would have never thought possible.” ~ Sean Taylor in “You Are gOD: The Three Core Powers of Success”
While both of these gentlemen are sharing general life advice, its business advice as well. After all, these are businessmen. In a world with forever changing favorites/trends, growing entrepreneurship, and established businesses looking to stay ahead/afloat, you’ll need to choose how you want to lead. You’re looking to lead somehow; being #1 may come down to a niche, like the company maintaining to sales in generic soda pop. However, in order to stay in business, you must determine your strengths and choose a path for forging it’s greatness.
What now? What next?
Don’t leap just to lead, because you’ll fall or at best coast. Take calculated risks by researching how you can succeed and fail at your goal, taking your company’s resources into account, and determining if you can support the outcome. There’s no need to repeat mistakes that industry and thought leaders warn against. If you can, you’ll want to know the ins and outs of the chosen segment, including: vendor history and processes, expenses and expected ROI, best practices, target markets, direct and indirect competitors, major industry issues, current “leaders” and so much more. You’ll also want to look at their current customers and determine additional penetration strategies.
(research question examples: What has the audience been served before? How did they respond to that? Were there needs met? Should you present an improved product or is this an opportunity to present something seemingly new that fulfills that same need at a greater level?).
Be smart about your next moves. Having a product or brand with mediocre penetration is cool, until the brand below you chooses to want more and your company is stamped with the “just another” label. If you aren’t looking understanding the true life cycle timeline for your product or make a choice to stand out, you’re choosing to be eaten.
You’re either at the table or on the menu (Eat or be eaten). It’s your choice!