Roger Cowdrey - International Business Consultant. Writer & Motivational Speaker
My Blog

Think what makes you different.

One of the big mistakes that entrepreneurs make is to underestimate the competition. All of us have opinions on what is wrong with the large companies that we deal with every day, and everyone has a view on how to put it right!

Of course, in reality, many of these so called fixes are impractical and are designed to fix the personal problem of the observer rather than find a solution for the masses of customers.

Much of this activity is harmless banter and makes for interesting debate over coffee, or the second beer. However, it should not be used as the basis for immediately launching into a full blown competitive offering as an alternative to returning to the office on Monday morning!

There is a real danger lurking for the potential entrepreneur that tries to take on the big boys and girls based on negative opinions of elements of their offerings. Such an approach leads us to ignore the good points of the brands and the fact that the company, unlike yours, is in the marketplace and is making money.

Even someone like Richard Branson has learnt that lesson. While he has had worldwide success with many of his initiatives, whatever happened to his attempts to take on Coca Cola, Avon, Victoria Secrets, Apple, flower delivery firms, bridal shops and car manufacturers? 

The danger is that when you take on established businesses you assume that their size has made them slow and inefficient and that you can simply do the same thing but better.

The reality is that customers are very resistant to change and are remarkably loyal to existing brands unless the change gives them something more. Without a Unique Selling Point (USP) no one is going to change for a supposedly more efficient but untried service.

So by all means find fault with the big boys and girls; by all means have your debates over the dinner table; even vent your spleen on the company websites or letters to the CEO. But don't risk your future on negativity or on your perception alone. 

If you genuinely have a unique offering that has been market researched and which potential customers have shown they will go for then go for it. 

And a final thought.......

Although the examples mentioned in this article didn't work, enough of his ideas have done to make him the success he is today. Each of these failure taught him something and he proved that failure is an important step on the road to ultimate success.

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