When I hear someone say something about never looking over their shoulder because they’re focused on what’s ahead of them, I always wonder what makes them think danger only lurks ahead, or that by ignoring everything but their own goals, they’re guaranteed to succeed. [level-members]
Running a business isn’t track and field or some other sport, where everything is defined. Some of today’s biggest brands – Apple, Fedex, Google – came zooming up in the rear view mirrors of huge competitors and passed them before the big guys even knew what hit them.
Certainly having your business goals clearly defined, and keeping yourself focused on realizing those goals, is an important part of success. But you also have to keep an eye on the competition and the marketplace. Businesses change more rapidly than ever, and the pace of technology change alone is a disruptive force.
Make sure you know what established shops are doing – big shops, little shops, shops in related industries in your state – and keep a special eye on anyone doing something new or different that could impact your business.
If you’re always looking over your shoulder, you’re gonna trip over something. But don’t be afraid to look around to get the broader picture. You’ll head off more competition knowing how they work than pretending they don’t exist. [/level-members]