Stop Chasing the Competition

The first step to clarifying your company’s competitive advantage is to stop chasing what’s on the outside (your competitors) and start taking a closer look at what’s on the inside.

There are plenty of clues that can point you to your company’s greatest strengths:

  • The products and services that you and your team truly believe in.
  • The customers you can serve better than anyone else.
  • The types of problems that you’re most interested in solving.

Despite these clues, many entrepreneurs still hesitate to commit to their strengths. Instead, they hedge their bets, waiting just a little longer to see what their competitors are doing, or how the market shifts, or what happens to the economy over the next quarter.

When you’re stuck in analysis paralysis, you default to reacting rather than leading. You wait for the market to tell you what it wants, or wait for your competitors to tell you what they think the market wants.

You stop trusting your own intuition, and instead get caught up clinging to a false sense of safety in the wisdom of the crowd. Next thing you know, your company has morphed into something unrecognizable, uninspiring, and unsustainable.

Without an internal compass—your company’s strengths and purpose—any market and competitive intel will lack the deeper context you need to make good long-term decisions. Market trends will just be bait that you chase along with everyone else, rather than useful insights that help you adjust and adapt as needed.

By starting with a clear picture of your strengths, you’ll be able to define a much more compelling target to move toward. One that helps keep you focused and engaged instead of reactively chasing “better” opportunities.

You’ll be able to stay flexible, trust the process, and continue to adapt as the vision for your company evolves over time. It will certainly look different than where you started. But no matter how much you iterate over the long term, staying true to your core strengths will help ensure that the company you build is the company that only you and your team could have built.

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