As I write this post, it’s about 7:00pm and I’m sitting on my back deck with a cocktail in hand, looking across a meadow punctuated with scrub oak clusters.
I can see seven pronghorn lazily grazing. It is not mating season, but a large buck is not very happy with the presence of a small buck hovering along the fringes of the group. Finally, the big buck takes chase and the pair run at full speed in and out of the scrub oak.
During the chase, the five does continue to eat, slowly migrating across the meadow, over a rise, and out of sight. For about the next fifteen minutes the pronghorn dogfight continues. However, the big buck never seems to be able to quite catch the smaller buck. The smaller buck has just a little faster acceleration, can turn just a little sharper, and can duck through the scrub oak at certain points that are just a little too tight for the bigger buck to follow.
Entrepreneurs can learn a lot from nature and this entire event reminds me of a few business lessons. I saw the two bucks as two companies and he does as their customers.
Small Size Advantage:
First, the small buck didn’t try to fight the big buck head to head since he knows he doesn’t have the advantage. Instead, the small buck chose to leverage the confrontation to his strengths of better acceleration, being able to change direction quicker, and his smaller size to go places that the bigger buck could not go.
As a small business owner competing with a bigger competitor, you should never fight them toe to toe. You stand a much better chance of coming out victorious if you force the fight to be fought on your terms and employ the underdog strategies as David did when he fought Goliath.
Another lesson is related to perseverance. The smaller buck could have simply disengaged and run off in one direction. The bigger buck would have broken off the chase to return to his does. I have seen this hundred of times during the rut. However, this smaller buck chose to hang around. During the hunting season, he might have been rewarded for his perseverance as a hunter would be gunning for the bigger buck and not him.
In the world of small business, if you are the leader, everyone is gunning for you. However, if you are number two, the odds are in your favor that you are not in the crosshairs.
Focus On Your Customer Not The Competition:
However, there was a much more important lesson here. The two competitors were so focused on beating each other that they forgot the real reason for the battle. While their attention was focused on the defense of their turf and their competitors, they neglected their customers, he does, who just wandered off.
A business can’t be so focused on the competition that it ignores its customers.
Do you use your small size to your advantage when it comes to waging war with your bigger competitors?
Do have the persistence to hang around to wait for your shot at greatness?
Are you too focused on employing strategies to block your competition that you are neglecting your reason for being in business in the first place, your customers?
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