Creating The Best Business Model:
Why Beating Your Competition Isn’t Everything
“I’m not playing anymore!” A phrase most often yelled by a child (or an adult) who isn’t winning. We all know these people: they aren’t happy unless they’re in first place, they own ALL the Monopoly properties, and the other team is crying. We’re taught not to be sore losers, but we often forget to acknowledge the negative effects of being a poor winner—especially when it comes to the cut-throat world of economics where everyone is striving to create the best decisions at any cost.
However, we need to stop focusing on crushing the competition and concentrate, instead, on creating more win-win scenarios. When developing the best business strategies for your company, you might think it’s imperative to get rid of any and all opposition, but competition makes us better. When an athlete has a strong opponent to go up against, you better believe they’re going to train harder and longer and, ultimately, get stronger. With the right mindset, we can learn things from competitors and they will push us to excel.
How can you adopt a “Win-Win” mindset in order to generate better results overall?
Understand That Sharing Does Not Equal Losing.
The tendency is to think that it’s always a zero-sum game, meaning that there can be only one winner and everyone else must, therefore, be a loser. But, this outlook makes it impossible to create sustainable business models. Rather than looking to create win-lose situations, it’s much more beneficial to find ways to “grow the pie,” as they say.
Costco is a great example of this: They provide a package deal, which doesn’t add to their bottom line, but still provides the consumer with benefits that enhance their shopping experience. Other examples include dinner or airline packages, which include add-ons that make customers feel like they’re getting more for their dollar, but simultaneously don’t actually raise the business’ production cost. They key here, however, is to make sure that your free offerings are desirable. The goal is to increase value for everyone.
Too many people, falsely, assume that a compromise means they’ve lost or that they’re being forced to forfeit something. In actuality, compromising usually makes you stronger. By listening to the needs and understanding the goals of your partners (both personal and business), you build and strengthen the relationship.
When you are willing to consider another party’s interests, they will, in turn, be more open to catering to your own. In particular, you might discuss things like price, service, quality, and reliability. Different transactions hold varying expectations (i.e. to someone stuck in the rain, availability is more important than price or even the quality of an umbrella while quality is a crucial factor to someone purchasing a car). Finding where to give and take will help create an improved outcome for all. In the end, communication is essential to producing win-win outcomes.
Recognize That Success Does Not Equal the Failure of Others.
How many profitable barbershops, Italian restaurants, and grocery stores exist in your neighborhood? Enough said.
Be Open to a New End Goal.
We often go into situations with a precise vision and set expectations, but this limits potential. If we’re able to keep an open mind and test different ideas (i.e. pricing, delivery time, production style, etc.), we might discover a scenario which strays from our original idea, but ultimately achieves better results for all parties involved. This requires open communication between suppliers, colleagues, customers, and even competition.
It also means being open to feedback. Look, listen, and analyze. Face it: you don’t always know what’s best and the insights of others may be the missing link to improved productivity and the key to creating the best business model for your company.
Accept That Failure Is Part Of Success.
It’s often said that if you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t trying hard enough. It’s safe to say that the experiences of these innovators illustrate this point:
*Thomas Edison, one of the greatest inventors of all time, had 10,000 failed trials with his light bulb.
*Stephen Spielberg, famed movie director, went solo after being rejected three times from the University of California.
*Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, both college-dropouts, went on to… well, you already know.
So: Try. Fail. Learn. Improve. Losing is where we grow. Too often, winning provides a sense of false security. Accept that there’s always going to be someone striving to do what you do better than you do it. And then keep pushing yourself to be your own very best.
Once we accept that success isn’t built on the failure of others, we open ourselves to a multitude of opportunities. Consider different perspectives, encourage innovation, and accept the inevitability of mistakes. You might be surprised at how beneficial it is (and how good it feels) to win and watch others win simultaneously.
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