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Stop Competing: Start Winning by Innovating

By: SmallBizClub

 

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Contrary to popular belief, competing with other individuals or companies is counterproductive. From a business perspective, focusing on your competition instead of focusing on continuous innovation by creating new, must-have products and services will, over time, result in your looking and acting more like your competitors, not to mention fighting an escalating battle over shrinking margins. So even when you’re in the lead, eventually someone else will copy what you are doing, which makes you compete with them even more. Unfortunately, the majority of companies are so focused on competing that they’re locked in a losing battle—a vicious cycle of one-upmanship.

 
A better idea is to seek advantage. That means using Hard Trends (trends that will happen) to redefine and reinvent your company, your products, or your services so you can jump ahead and stay ahead. It’s about moving beyond your competition by nurturing, promoting, and enhancing innovation and original thinking—both individually and within your organization. In other words, you want to become an innovator, not an imitator, and go beyond the competers.
 
What’s the difference between competers and innovators? No, “competers” is not a misprint. It’s an original term for those who reflexively compete rather than seek to gain a strategic advantage through innovation. Here are some of the distinctions between competers and innovators:
 
Competers
 
  • Copy what others are doing
  • Get locked into set patterns
  • Believe the future will take care of itself if they take care of the present
  • See scientific and technological developments as threats to their status quo
  • Collect and swim around massive amounts of raw data
  • React to trends
  • Have a short-range view of planning and consider it a necessary evil
  • Dread change and resist it as long as they can
  • Avoid anything that would cast them as being significantly different from their competitors
  • Try to control and direct their people
  • Complain about how unproductive their people are
  • Think about how they can use high-technology to cut their work forces and save money
  • Believe in standardized operations that force people to act in predictable ways
  • Are annoyed by problems and see them as enemies to progress
 
Innovators
 
  • Look for better ways of thinking and acting
  • Cultivate a creative mindset, create new patterns
  • Focus on their future goals and building a path to get there
  • Focus on how they can apply new technologies to open up new opportunities
  • Look for ways to translate raw data into actionable knowledge and insights
  • Use Hard Trends (trends that will happen) to predict and even create new trends and profit from them
  • Take a strategic view of planning and know the value of building change into the plan
  • Seek to remain adaptive and to use change to their advantage
  • Maximize their differential advantage
  • Empower their people for positive action
  • Realize that people are their most upgradable resource and look for ways to help them be more productive and innovative
  • Integrate strategy, technology, and people to create new products and services
  • Encourage creativity in their people to rapidly solve problems and grow their business
  • Go looking for problems they can turn into opportunities
 
In short, competers are usually so caught up in meeting their day-to-day challenges and fighting the competition that they fail to see and act on new game-changing opportunities, while innovators see the present only as a stepping-stone they can use to create a bigger and better future.
 
Which would you rather be?
 
Daniel Burrus HeadshotAuthorDaniel Burrus is considered one of the World’s Leading Futurists on Global Trends and Innovation, a top 50 LinkedIn Global INfluencer, and is the founder and CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients understand how technological, social and business forces are converging to create enormous untapped opportunities. He is the author of six books including The New York Times best seller Flash Foresight. Follow Daniel on Twitter and LinkedIn. www.burrus.com
 
Published: December 10, 2013
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