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3 Keys to Remaining Competitive

The new adage in business is ‘if you’re not disrupting, you will be disrupted.’

by Gordon Tredgold
 

 NOKIA, BLACKBERRY AND Yahoo. What do they have in common? They all dominated their markets and then, within a pretty short space of time, lost their top dog status.

There is more to a successful business than simply getting to the top. The problems are numerous, and chief among them is a refusal to diversify or get with the program or to create a new trend aligned with customers’ expectations. In simple terms: You snooze, you lose.

It’s not just about creating an excellent model for running a company. The company has to be organic, flexible and ever-evolving to allow changes in its environment. It is the job of a good leader and outstanding entrepreneur to foresee these sorts of pitfalls and implement constant change and innovation time and time again, or you can quickly see yourself go from the disruptor to the disrupted.

The main responsibility of the leadership is to steer the company away from doom and ensure its continued viability and relevance.

Let’s put 10 years into perspective. Ten years ago, flip phones were still the rage, and flickering internet speeds were the norm. Now? Retinal scanners and facial recognition are on the brink of being incorporated into every smartphone, and internet speeds are faster than what was imaginable 10 years ago.

These sorts of developments are all brought on by innovation; the desire to improve upon what is already the norm. However, innovation is not limited to technology or the workings of the interweb. Good leaders, CEOs and entrepreneurs are found creating innovative changes in many industries.

Let’s take a look at a 22-year-old entrepreneur called David Zhao, who started successful companies by relying on out-of-the-box thinking. He established a few thriving businesses, including a restaurant and a car rental service, and bridged the gap of novelty by offering something different, which carved out a niche for himself.

There are three things that can be learned from David’s approach:

1. Innovate to Differentiate

The center of capitalism is that there is competition and this competition is relentless. The only way to stay ahead of the game is to offer something different to consumers. In a world of sameness, all it takes is just a tiny element that sets you apart.

People are often willing to pay more when they feel that what they are getting in return is more. Sometimes these things are even intangibles, such as how they feel while consuming your product.

Chubby Cattle is a restaurant that uses refrigerated conveyor belts to deliver food right to your table from which you choose and then cook by yourself. You can imagine that eating at this restaurant would cost more than usual. But, if you think about it, the business is saving costs from hiring fewer chefs, waiters and other staff and then charging the customers even more for it. The intangible value is the fun and the numerous possibilities of food available to the customer just the way they like it.

2. Know Your Consumer

The greatest pitfall in business, especially a new one, is not to understand the market. When you don’t know your potential customers and their needs and wants, you are dead on arrival and have essentially failed. People have virtually unlimited wants and particular needs. The problem is: usually, they cannot afford to meet them.

Once you understand and find a void in the needs and wants of people that are not being met, all you have to do is create a business to exploit this gap in a way that your potential customers can afford.

NXT Auto Club is a club that allows customers to access the countless models, brands and styles of luxury vehicles that they can exchange or swap out as many times as they would like. By just paying a monthly fee, and maintaining the requirement of driving less than 15 days a month, members can drive every car their heart desires, without committing to the leases or contracts of regular car dealerships.

Through this unique membership program, the company is not only able to give consumers countless opportunities to explore and learn but ultimately change the way they own cars, potentially even impacting the heavy volume of cars and carbon emission in highly populated areas.

3. Continually Reinvent Yourself

There is a temptation for companies to relax and get comfortable doing the same thing that has proven to work for years under the age-old adage of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

While it’s nice to keep things simple sometimes, there must always be a desire for reinvention. Think of it this way, if a successful company was able to steal the spotlight from an older company, why can’t the same thing happen to you? Many millennial entrepreneurs like David follow the new adage “if you’re not disrupting, you will be disrupted.”

The solution is to never get too comfortable and always seek out new ways to do the same thing better or offer something innovative. This work ethic is the main reason for the success of a company like Google. They are always at the forefront of tech, and there are hardly any consumer spaces they have not invaded and sought to dominate.

These ideas are what keep a company alive. It’s all well and good to start a business, but the goal is to make it last for as long as possible in the best possible health. In today’s scenario, the main rule is to adapt or die.


 Gordon Tredgold has worked in senior leadership positions for over 25 years, successfully delivering $100 million projects and running $300 million departments. He has helped entrepreneurs triple their revenue in just 12 months. Gordon is the author of three books and offers speaking and consulting services. Visit www.gordontredgold.com. (This article originally appeared at Inc.com.)