OVER THIRTY YEARS AGO, I ran across a striking company that thought differently than mine did.

They didn’t worry about the competition.  Really.

And not because they were ignorant or egotistical.  It’s because they realized that if they and all their competitors grew, it would create a whole new market.

Out of nothing.

Most companies think about a target market, which has a certain size and character.  That market is served by a number of competitors, who each “take their slice of market share” which represents how successful they are relative to each other.

This is a mindset based out of fear.  It’s a win/lose model, based on who’s getting the most “points” to win the game.

It’s entirely possible to take a different view.  Imagine that your true goal is to – gasp – actually solve the customer’s problem.  In pursuit of that top goal, then, it doesn’t really matter if you serve that need, or if your competitor does.  If you can partner together to do a better job, wonderful.

The reason this works is that the universe of customer problems is NOT limited.  We’d like to think it is, and market analysts make a living by telling that it is.  But customer problems are truly unlimited.  They’re constantly growing over time.

So the competitive mindset comes from fear.  Of “losing” to someone else.  Of thinking so large that it scares you.

But imagine a situation where EVERY supplier in your industry was going as much as they want, creating great jobs, and quite profitable.  In that situation, you might still have some fear because you don’t want to be the first one to fail.

Notice, though, that your mindset shifts away from trying to take away from the competition.  You’re meeting your goals and doing great.

It’s like changing the definition of your market needs to be … as infinite as the supply of sunlight or seawater or grains of sand.

How large would YOUR vision have to be for that switch to happen?

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