Decision Making and the Competition

One more thought on us shutting down Tastefully Driven. I find it interesting to ponder how little we factor our competition into making decisions like this.

Clearly shutting down our Amazon store will help our detailing competitors. They will sell more products and probably will sell more at a higher margin since there’s one less competitor in the fold (many times it was just us and one other company bidding each other down on a product).

But we never mentioned that in the decision making process. Not once. And from that last post it’s obvious that there were a lot of factors, but all of those factors were internal. We were just trying to do what was best for us, not what’s better or worse for the competition. If our actions happen to help them, so be it. Who cares if their volume on Amazon goes up? We’ve decided that we don’t want that volume. We’ve decided that we have different plans for our time and money.

I think a rookie business mistake is focusing too much on your competition. Even though you’re in the same market, your goals are often very different. Copying the competition can be a dangerous game that can take your eye off of the customer. Business is not a zero-sum game. There is room for a lot of people and companies to succeed in a lot of different ways in an industry. You can find yourself in trouble if you try to succeed “their way” and not “your way”.

7 comments on Decision Making and the Competition

  1. Aaron says:

    That is often a temptation and you always have to make your own way or you will ultimately end up with a result that you don’t recognize.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Well said Aaron. I also think that the result that you don’t recognize won’t make you very happy. Building something “your way” tends to make you more satisfied with the results.

  2. Tim says:

    Another great post Adam, I agree that it is one of the key rookie mistakes. I think you can learn a lot about the viability of a new business by looking at the competition pretty closely, but after that initial analysis you should be focusing on developing your business with only quick checks of the competition to ensure that nothing radical has taken place. It was a mistake I made too often in my younger years, but as I grew and gained confidence I learned that every hour focused on the competition is an hour not focused on my business, and I trust me more then I trust them so why invest my time like that?

  3. Dale Ting says:

    I agree, business shouldn’t be like a football game where someone wins and someone loses. The big company I work for is constantly talking about how we need to win. We even had a presentation where they analyzed the competition, and the takeaway was that they were “very scary.” It’s this kind of thinking that prevents innovation and new streams of profit.

  4. Christina says:

    Very well said. You may both be in the same playing field but hey everybody has it’s own strategy to win the game. What work for the other may not work for you, there are hundreds of ways to win, you just need to uncover them, from failures, trends etc. It’s always a gamble if you’re afraid to lose then don’t play. Great post by the way.

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