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The Competition Highway
Posted July 17, 2010  |  By: Eric Yonge
The Competition Highway
I talk to a lot of clients who are too hung up on what their competition is or isn't doing. If you're not careful, you can base an unhealthy portion of your strategy around their strategy. In order to survive today's competitive online landscape, aggressive confidence in your chosen direction is required.

I look at competition like I do highway traffic: Everybody's trying to get ahead at the same time or faster than you are, but if you keep your eyes on them and not the road-- you'll crash! If you never switch lanes, others will get there faster. When you do switch lanes, you have to check your blind spots (and there are a ton of blind spots in business).

As a country boy, I barely got past two lanes. When I dated Gina in Florida, I was introduced to I-95. I was totally intimidated by the rude, aggressive drivers! I was used to good ol' boys in their old Ford trucks letting you pass in front of them. Miami drivers acted like they wanted to cause a ten car pile-up. I'll never forget Gina's emphatic admonishment: "You gotta TAKE it, baby! TAKE it!"

Gina's words echo in my ears when I form strategic directions for my company. When I see an opportunity, I take it. I spend the money and take the risk. Not every opportunity is worth taking: Sometimes you'll see an opening in the lane next to you, only to pull behind a semi-truck. Typically, however, amazing opportunities appear within tiny windows of availability. Take 'em while they exist.

When you take this mindset of aggressively seizing opportunities, your competitors get dizzy watching you zig and zag in front of them. That's right-- now they're the ones watching YOU. They may try to even copy your maneuvers, but they'll never succeed at doing it better than you. The ones who fail to innovate and differentiate will watch you disappear into the horizon.

You simply can't be aggressive for awhile, then let up. It's not even hitting the brakes-- it's coasting. I see this tragic mistake way too often. Retailers wonder why their aggression two years ago isn't paying off today. It's because they've started to coast, and their competitors have caught up or passed them. Then they begin to rubberneck everyone in sight, falling more and more behind.

Don't be intimidated by competitor aggression. Dig deep and ask yourself where you really want to take your business. Get an original vision that is so compelling in its scope that you can't deny it from becoming reality. If you need help dreaming big, that's what EYStudios is all about. We'll help you get there, but you have to want it.

"You gotta TAKE it, baby! TAKE it!"
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