There is a switch that happens in lots of companies, right about the time things start feeling comfortable and you’re reasonably sure you’re going to make it over the long haul. In the early days, hopefully, everyone is doggedly committed to rapid growth. There is little fear in changing things up as you are trying to find exactly what works.
You will go out on a limb and try a new design or a new tactic or a new marketing ploy if there’s a half-decent chance it might work better than what you are currently doing. And you’re likely throwing out multiple lines into multiple waters to see what works.
Over time, as you double down on the things that work, they become systematized. Processes and procedures are developed around them. As your business grows more stable, you rely more heavily on and grow more protective of those things.
You reach a point of “success,” and—unintentionally and often without even realizing it—the culture shifts to maintaining the status quo. Decisions are made based on “not losing” what you have instead of making bold new gains.
However, somewhere there’s someone who is just as hungry and determined as you were in the beginning. You can wait until they rise up to challenge you and hope for the best. OR, you can be proactive, and go ahead and decide to BE the guy who rises up to challenge you.
If you were starting out today, what would you do to make an end-run around your business and steal market share? What missed opportunities in the marketplace could you exploit that “the big guy” is ignoring? What are the weak points in your business that someone starting out could turn into the differentiating factor in theirs to try and win your dissatisfied customers?
Take a day or two to discover the elements that your business has dropped the ball on. Then attack those hardcore like you were the scrappy startup still struggling to get a foothold in the market. Cobble together an internal team whose job it is to approach getting new business as if it actually were a new business.
And on the flipside of that, if you’re not the biggest player in your market… who is? What are they not doing that you could do? What are they doing that you could do better?
Just don’t sit on your laurels and wait for someone to come along and knock you down a peg or two. Do it yourself, and then do something about it.