“Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” – Otto van Bismark
We talk a lot about competition ’round these parts. Our business sorta demands it. However, once in a while we’re forced to take a step a back and put our world in perspective as we analyze and re-analyze the best ways to help you track your competition. Sometimes that self reflection comes in the form of listing esoteric quotes about the competition on our blog and waxing poetic on the philosophy of competitive intelligence. Other times, it’s whiskey. Nevertheless, we present you with 10 inspiring quotes on competition that you can put to work in your business (that first quote didn’t count):
1. “Competition is always a good thing. It forces us to do our best. A monopoly renders people complacent and satisfied with mediocrity.” – Nancy Pearcy
It’s true that competition breeds champions. It’s the vigil of the true capitalist. In nascent markets, it can even be in your own best interest to collaborate with competitors to grow the overall market size. As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats. As markets mature, competition keeps you sharp. It makes sure you never get complacent or you risk being taken over.
2. “A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace.” – Ovid
If you’re not first, you’re last (dammit, that’s another quote). Well, when you’re just starting out, guess what? You’re last. We work with a lot of startups and there’s truth in the name – they’re just starting up. Never in the entire history of their company will they need to run as fast or work as hard as they do than in their first few years. This “walk before you can crawl” mentality is exactly what early stage companies need to come out of the gates on full tilt and catch their competition.
3. “Becoming number one is easier than remaining number one.” – Bill Bradley
In rock climbing, sometimes keeping your eye on the prize makes it easier to get to the top of the mountain. It’s your goal, a reason for fighting through the pain and obstacles, however once it’s accomplished you need to find another source of motivation. After all, you need to survive the climb down the other side. Which leads us to number 4:
4. “The time your game is most vulnerable is when you’re ahead. Never let up.” – Rod Laver
Are you familiar with the Laver? Apparently, he was no stranger to keeping his stylish Adidas firmly planted on his competitor’s throat.
5. “The weakness of an enemy forms part of your own strength.” – Anonymous
For students of Sun Tzu, avoiding your competitor’s strengths and finding their greatest weaknesses is a key element of success. Never stop learning from your competition and take note of the chinks in their armour.
6. “Snitches get stitches.” -Playground bully
All’s fair in love and war, and you better believe you’re already on the battlefield, soldier. Unfortunately, it’s not above a disgruntled competitor to undermine your growth by trashing your company to you to your mutual prospects. Your sales team has likely already encountered this in the field, but online it becomes a whole other nightmare. As Mark Twain poetically said, “a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” (Wait, does that count as another quote?) Regardless, if someone’s talking smack about your business online, you should be the first to know about it.
7. “Companies that solely focus on competition will die. Those that focus on value creation will thrive.” – Edward de Bono
You can’t get too wrapped up in the competition, you need to use this process to better yourself as well. Through effective competitive intelligence comes self-awareness and self-improvement. The better informed and educated you are on where you and your competition stands in relation to each other and the market, the better decisions you will make and the more prepared you will be for new opportunities.
8. “Creativity may well be the last legal unfair competitive advantage we can take to run over the competition.” – Dave Trott
“If you’re not a brand, you’re a commodity” (Yes, by now you realize that I’m totally cheating by inserting more quotes, but I heard that using the number “10” in the headline gets the most clicks). In a noisy world, you have to be creative to stand out and make a lasting impact. What no one ever mentions is that the best artists don’t just create, they steal. Take great care and pay close attention to the competitor that goes against the grain. They may be onto something.
9. “Number 1: Cash is king. Number 2: Communicate. Number 3: Buy or bury the competition.” – Jack Welch
Pretty straightforward. Take ’em over, or take ’em out.
And finally, the one that keeps CEOs up at night:
10. “World trade means competition from anywhere; advancing technology encourages cross-industry competition. Consequently, strategic planning must consider who our future competitors will be, not only who is here today.” – Eric Allison
There was never a more important time in history than right now to grow eyes in the back of your head.
Effective competitive intelligence in today’s barrage of content marketing and avalanche of social media is nearly impossible without help. Either you hire a dedicated team to sweep the internet on a daily basis, or your elicit a powerful weapon to automate your competitive analysis and alert you to any relevant changes. We suggest the latter. Happy hunting.