It is the dream of every business to develop a unique product, offer, or package that stands alone in the marketplace; that says, “I’m unique, buy me!” But as you know all advantages disappear over time, as new technologies emerge, people’s tastes change, and imitators knock us off.
In other words, as competition heats up, interest in our products and services cools off, and this is disappointing to some and debilitating to others. If most of us had our druthers we wouldn’t compete because it takes a lot of energy, and the outcome is never certain. We prefer having a monopoly, whether it is in the form of a bulletproof patent or copyright or it is a franchise bestowed by a doting monarch.
Exclusivity is nice, when you can get it and especially if you can keep it.
Just ask Polaroid or Xerox, firms that had great patents and breakthrough technologies and products. Will they ever regain their luster as stocks and enterprises, now that their exclusivity is a relic of the past?
It’s doubtful, and having consulted to both of these companies during their decline, I can tell you that entering the world of competition and leaving behind the realm of entitlement, is difficult, if not excruciating.
But it is necessary, especially if we have been spoiled by success.
Peter F. Drucker, prominent management guru and my professor, was fond of quoting the aphorism: “If the gods want to destroy you, first, they’ll give you 40 years of success!”
Learn to compete, now, and savor it. Your abilities in this area will do you more good for a longer period of time than any “exclusive” advantage you might temporarily enjoy.