… is how the competition is going to quietly eat your lunch.
Competitors aren’t the ones waiting for opportunity. They’re capitalizing on the fact that you are.
This happens all of the time, especially with organizations that enjoy a large market share, have significantly more resources or are so blind by their own tunnel vision that they can’t see what’s coming from outside of their spheres.
XYZ Company offers services in the market. They’ve been in the business for decades, and believe they understand what customers in their market want. They also have a very clear understanding of how they are better than their 10 direct competitors. They have a large market share and will proudly explain why that is the case and why they have been the choice of customers. They “know” exactly how they need to communicate with those customers. They are actively going after growth and working to remain relevant, but they are comfortable in the way the industry has always worked and its just easier to wait for opportunities to present themselves.
Can XYZ Company continue to grow and be profitable by staying on this course? Sure they could, but it’s going to get more and more difficult to do so.
What they don’t see is that new competitors are cropping up in unrelated industries. These competitors are staying in their own industries, but they are getting significant business right in XYZ Company’s back yard.
The game has changed.
XYZ Company is losing market share a little at a time. Revenues are starting to dwindle, but the blame is put on the economy rather than the possibility of a changing market. XYZ Company has always been successful in sitting tight through an economic dip, waiting things out and coming out the other side when opportunities start flowing again.
This creates risk. Decline happens a little at a time and, by the time that decline is felt in the financials, it’s quite expensive to dig out of that hole. In the meantime, these new competitors are feasting on the complacency of XYZ.
The Opportunities Are There
The problem is not that opportunities don’t exist.
The problem is the approach to opportunities:
In this new competitive landscape, the mere existence of new competitors brings new opportunities that didn’t exist before.
Can XYZ leverage all of these new opportunities? Probably not, but they could leverage enough of them to see a nice increase in gross revenues or in profitability.
This new landscape could have enabled XYZ to offer a broader set of services to existing customers.
With a better understanding of what they’re really competing against, XYZ could compete in bigger markets with bigger opportunities…meaning bigger revenues.
With this better market understanding, XYZ could see what’s really happening and also mitigate risks of being irrelevant.
XYZ may be able to develop and apply better value propositions to be more competitive in these new opportunities.
XYZ may be able to minimize customer attrition with a slight refocus on how they serve (provide value for) customers.
For businesses like XYZ Company, the opportunities are often abundant when the market changes. It’s understandable to wait until some assumptions in a changing market are proven, but, when a company waits for opportunity to follow…
…it ends up on the wrong side of feast or famine.