“Find a need and fill it.” To entrepreneurs, that’s a key to continued growth. Whether you bring a new product or service to market, or improve one that already exists, “look for the pain,” they say, “and provide the customer with a solution.”
This is how we’ve been taught to beat the competition, but it’s as old and dry an adage as you’ll find. Filling or creating needs isn’t the best approach anymore. I know that may sound like heresy to you, but heresy is exactly how you can leave your competition in the dust.
I like to tell my audiences about two T-Rex who enjoy playing soccer. Let’s pretend they’re playing against you. These huge competitors have enormous feet, and wow…can they kick that ball! In the soccer arena, this makes you the unfortunate “monkey in the middle.” You can work on your game all you like, but the most you’ll ever score at the end of that game is a sports drink.
There is a way to beat these guys, but it’s fairly heretical: I want you to stop thinking of your competitors as competitors, and start thinking of them as losers. You’ll do this by changing the game. Here’s how: The next time you meet those giants with their dripping jaws and huge feet, leave your soccer ball at home.
Next time, bring a Frisbee.
Yes, that’s right. Bring a Frisbee. They won’t like it, but that’s just tough noogies. Now the game is your game, not theirs. It’s such a laugh to imagine those towering Tyrannisauri hop and run around, trying to catch the Frisbee with their tiny little arms.
The thing is that if you’re going to be stuck in the arena with powerful opponents, you’ll probably get trampled underfoot. So don’t play their game anymore. Make those losers play yours.
You may ask, “What’s my game? What’s my Frisbee?” I don’t have your specific answer; you’ll need to find your own. I can tell you where to begin looking, but it’s not to the soccer store. Don’t ask the soccer experts, the coaches, refs or other players. Your answer will be far away from the typical resources of your own clients, associates, industry magazines and trade shows.
If you want fresh ideas, you need fresh resources…people who don’t think like everyone else in your arena. Recruit some friends who know absolutely nothing about your industry. Find a teacher. A bartender. Get a couple of kids. No kidding! (Pun intended.) Recruit people who don’t come with industry knowledge that would limit their thinking. Remember, you’re not moving to another arena, you’re changing how to play the game.
Gather six to eight people together and help them generate ideas for you, without judgment, no matter how crazy. This is where Frisbees are born!
If you want to dumbfound your competitors, you need to go into uncharted territory. The best part is, it will take only one great idea to create some real T-wrecks.
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