Study the Competition…And Improve Upon It!

By Mark Bowser

What is your competitor doing down the street?  If you can’t answer that question then that is a dangerous position to be in…that is if you want to grow your business.  Walt Disney said, “When I started on Disneyland, my wife used to say, ‘But why do you want to build an amusement park? They’re so dirty.’ I told her that was just the point— mine wouldn’t be.”

In Walt’s day, amusement parks were not only dirty in appearance, but often also in morals.  Amusement parks of that era were not the same as they are today. We can thank Walt Disney for the experiences we have today.  You see, Walt saw what the competition was doing and had the vision to improve upon it.  Yes, he saw the flaws and imperfections, but he also saw the possibilities. We must do the same thing in our business’ and careers.

Scott McKain is a friend of mine who is a distinction expert.  He has written incredible business books such as Create Distinction and the 7 Tenets of Taxi Terry.  Scott says that one of the problems in the marketplace today is that most business’ are very similar to their competition. The grocery store I shop at is probably very similar to the grocery store you shop at on a weekly basis.  Now, when Scott talks about being distinctive, he is not talking about being different in a silly way.  He is talking about what Walt did with Disneyland.  Walt Disney took a worn out idea, the amusement park, and transformed it into the happiest place on earth.

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So, how can you stand out from your competition?  How can you learn from them and improve it?  That is the key.  That is what Walt called “plus-ing.” Taking an idea and making it better.

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