The race you didn’t know you were in

I was out walking the other day, doing my daily constitutional, when I spied another walker ahead of me on the path.  I thought “I wonder if I can catch them up by the top of the next hill?” and upped my pace.  Bit-by-bit I cut their lead and and eventually overhauled them.  A pointless exercise of male ego or perhaps a little bit of harmless gaol setting, but it occurred to me that it was a metaphor for a rather more serious business situation. 

It is often the case that at one moment in time one company has a decisive market advantage be they they a global giant like Apple or the local firm of accountants.  However, as Nokia found, if you aren’t constantly innovating and keeping an eye not just on your current market but the market of tomorrow then you can find yourself overhauled by someone with a new vision and product like Apple.  Now it seems that perhaps their halo is slipping a little and Google are perhaps the next darling of the tech market.  The only thing you can guarantee is that the advantage will shift.

The thing is if you are currently enjoying a golden period then you need to keep an eye on who might have you in their sights with the ambition to overhaul you!  The day that you rest on your laurels is the day this begins.  It is easier to overtake someone who doesn’t even know they are in a race, so keep talking to your customers and your staff and ask “How could we do this better?” because if you aren’t doing that then some else will be!

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