How having superior information impacts your business development activities
Imagine this: you know someone who cheats obsessively. No matter what they do, they find some way to cheat. And they win. It is infuriating because you put every effort into doing the right things the right way. The worst part of it is that they always seem to get away with it. They always seem to win.
I think that when I play Go Fish with my kids. Either they are psychic or they have somehow figured out a fool-proof way to win.
Either way, I lose because they have more information about the game than I do. Not only do they know what is in their hand; they seem to know what is in mine. That information gives them a leg up every time.
As a business owner, while you are probably in business in order to make a living (or a life!), you may or may not think about your company as being in competition with others who are providing your market base with the same, similar or replacement products or services for your offerings.
Think about it; you do it yourself. If you drive regularly, you will probably look for the lowest price on the grade of gas you are looking for.
But it isn’t just the price, is it? There might be some brands that you choose to or not to associate with. Perhaps you want a sandwich, a hot dog or a coffee drink with your gas. Perhaps you need a part for your car…so you begin to think about convenience.
At the same time, you don’t want to drive completely out of your way to get gas. You may have been putting off putting gas into your tank in your hurry to get to a million other places, so your options now need to be on the way to or from your next destination.
What this boils down to is that every gas station is competing for your business. They cannot be all things to all people; some will focus on the brand, others will focus on cleanliness, convenience, pricing, discounts or any number of factors.
What they DO do is look at the other companies in their markets – not just direct competitors = other gas stations that sell the same tier gas they they do with convenience stores that offer sandwiches and rolled hotdogs, but indirect competitors – gas stations that might offer other tiers that might have service stations attached. As a result, we as consumers see the convergence of the convenience store and the gas station across many of the brands we know.
They are in the best position to make decisions about their future when they get superior information. Superior information will let them win in the marketplace. It is almost as though they cheat to win.
For clarity – I am not suggesting that one cheats in order to get the information, but rather, make it an intentional part of your decision-making process to learn about your competitors – what they are holding in their hands – what their secret sauce is – before making your play.
- What are they doing to attract customers?
- Are their customers the right customers for your company?
- If so, how are they keeping those customers?
- Are those customers loyal to the brand, pricing, convenience…?
- Could they become your loyal customers? If so, what do you need to do in order to woo them in your company’s direction?
- What makes your product superior to your competitors? Is it significant to your market? Or is it more of an add on bonus?
While these are just a few of the questions you might ask, information such as this is what will help you make decisions that will increase and retain your customer base. Which means that the rainmaker system of the moment may not always be the best process.
Learn your market. Cheat a little. Build something extraordinary.
Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results. We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.
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