The Adaptive Agency Blog

Your Competitive Superpower

by | Jul 25, 2023 | Strategy

If you want explosive business growth, you have to compete aggressively.

With yourself.

Not with your competitors. Chasing competitors is the worst business strategy ever. Today I’ll walk you through this mindset shift. And you can download our free tool to help you leave old you in the dust.

Chasing your competition is a weak play.

Here are a few reasons why:

1. You can’t predict what they’ll do next.

If you’re obsessed with your competition, you’re living in the past. Not just any past—their past. They’re already moving on. They’re getting ready to deploy their next good idea while you’re fretting about whether to copy their old stuff.

Rather than copying their past, invent your future!

2. You’ll take second place.

Your competitor rolls out a Shiny New Thing. It’s better than your old thing. So you rush to copy it. But they have a head start. They took their time and were pragmatic. They did things like:

  • uncover a new opportunity
  • brainstorm with the internal folks
  • poll the customers
  • experiment on a small group of customers
  • figure out roles and responsibilities and how to scale

They’re way out front. You’re going to take the silver medal.

Instead of copying their tactics, it’s better to surpass them with strategy.

3. You don’t really know your competitor.

Your competitor has weaknesses in production, service, sales and marketing, staffing, and talent management—they’re just like everybody else. (Just like you!) But you don’t intimately understand their challenges. You only know about their occasional Shiny New Thing.

Not knowing their weaknesses means you can’t really capitalize on them. You can only copy their Shiny New Thing.

Why bother? Why not come up with your own Shiny New Thing?

Competing with yourself will generate endless wins.

You have all the dirt on your own company.

You have a good idea of what’s not working, and your team knows even more. All the information is available to you.

That means you know all the ways you can be better. And you have total control of decision-making, prioritization, and investment. Plus, you can tailor all of your improvements based on customer feedback. Customer feedback is way better than the competition’s Shiny New Thing.

Way better.

The bottom line is that one year from now you can be fantastically better than right-now you. Repeat that every year, and you’ll have no reason to watch what the competition is doing.

They’ll be watching you.

Here’s how to use the free tool.

We built a simple tool to help you start competing with yourself. It’s an inventory of all the areas where future you can crush current you.

Here’s the download.

You’re going to list as many of your organization’s weaknesses as you can think of. Involving the team in a brainstorming session would be a great way to approach it.
There are no bad ideas here. Get everything on the paper. You can cull the list later.

Step 1: Write down a weakness.

This can be anything that’s holding you back. Use your imagination. But be honest and dig deep. After all, these “problems” are actually opportunities.

Step 2: Write down the impact.

What’s the pain that the weakness is causing? Here are a few ideas. You’ll come up with a lot more:

  • It makes the business slow.
  • It hurts employee or customer loyalty.
  • It keeps you stuck in the hamster wheel.
  • It ties you to the status quo.
  • It limits your visibility into the business.

The impact actually matters more than the weakness. In fact, you could start with the impact, like this:

“What factors are hurting our customer loyalty?”

Then uncover all of the weaknesses related to it.

Step 3: Write down a solution (or solutions)

This is going to require some deep thought. You’re looking for solutions that will minimize effort and maximize value.

Think of it as “Return On Effort” to be optimized.

In fact, and this is important, people often replace things that don’t work with other things that still don’t work but require more work. That’s really bad!

If you can eliminate, automate, or simplify, you’ll end up way better off.

Step 4: Assess the effort required and the potential value.

On a scale from 1-10, how much effort will this require?

Also on a scale from 1-10, how much value will it produce?

Again, you want to maximize VALUE/EFFORT. So 10/1 is 100x better than 1/10. Don’t boil the ocean to make soup.

Step 5: Pick the biggest, quickest wins and get started.

You want to put check marks in the W column early and often. That’s going to motivate your team to believe that change is possible and encouraged. They’ll stop being afraid to share their ideas.

And it will genuinely start to make things better.

We do this religiously at Client Focus.

Early on we figured out that worrying about competition was low-utility.

We had enough of our own problems to worry about what the other guys are doing with their website, their pricing, their marketing strategy, etc.

So we started obsessing about upgrading ourselves every year. Client Focus 1.0 gave way to CF 2.0. Then 3.0. Then 4.0. Then we stopped assigning numbers and accepted that being a new company every year was how we wanted to live.

And it worked.

Our employees come to me often to say, “I feel like we’re a different company than we were a year ago.”

I think that’s the nicest compliment I’ve received in business.