Change it Up!

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I have always heard there is nothing wrong with healthy competition and that competition could increase performance. These ideas fit in with the conventional business world. As an aspiring Entrepreneur, I often think of how I can provide better service or produce a better product than what is already out there. However, Kriegal challenges his reader to NOT compete but instead change the game.

Early in my reading I did not think there was a way to win or even play the game if you were not competing head on, but the author changed my mind. He suggests that you should find your own market and redesign the playing field. He gave many evident examples of companies that have done just that such as Volkswagen introducing the Volkswagen beetle at a time when Ford was pumping out full sized vehicles. Although, the company that is at the forefront of my mind is Chik-fil la. It seems the “burger joints” are always at odds and you can always see they are constantly competing head to head. Chik-fil-A took a different approach, they only offer chicken on their lunch menu and claim to have invented the first fried chicken sandwich in the fast food market. Of course, later the other fast food giants created chicken sandwiches, but what keeps me coming back to the “original” you may ask, the service. Chik-fil-A prides itself on customer service and instead of introducing beef to their menus they found another way to stay competitive.

When you compete head on you make way for conformity. If you see your competitor doing well, Instincts tell us that to succeed we just need to do the same thing but better.  This may be true and you may find yourself in the lead for a short while but conformity does not yield long-term, substantial, results. You have to use “Break-It Thinking.” I found the best example of “Break-It Thinkers” are creatives. Up until March of last year I have always thought of the word creative as an adjective but I attended a dear friend’s documentary viewing at the North Carolina’s Museum of History in Raleigh North Carolina titled CreativeNC. The documentary highlighted different creatives based in North Carolina. Creatives being actual people that think outside of the box, who were not repeating or mimicking anything that I had ever seen. This “Break-It Thinking” meant evaluating themselves rather than the market and making changes some of which even required starting over. It kind of pained me to think that someone would spend their time and effort creating something only to have others recreate it to the point that it caused you to scrap your idea and make something totally different but that is what “Break-It Thinkers” must do. Your ideas must be constantly evolving.

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

4 Replies to “Change it Up!”

  1. Hi Caitlin,

    Have you read Joy’s latest blog post? She talks about “Experimenters”, which in her book are people who are unafraid of failing and can pick back up quickly after something falls through for them. Your example of “Break-It Thinkers” reminded me of that. In business or entrepreneurship, you have to always be prepared for someone to come and pull the rug out from under you. When that happens, in can certainly be painful. While I agree that you must self-evaluate after it happens, I would caution you not to completely ignore your market or you may inadvertently put yourself back in the same position! Just something to think about.

    I would imagine that many creative types are not so interested in competition as they are creating their own market niche. The hard part is finding that niche and redesigning the playing field despite all of the competition out there. Perhaps that idea is what gives some creative entrepreneurs room to tinker with some really “out there” ideas that no one has really thought of yet!

    I hope you continue to enjoy your book!

    Best,
    Christian

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  2. The idea of not competing but to rather change was an interesting aspect you brought forth from Kriegal. Finding the market and changing the playing field is pretty insightful as I think about the entrepreneurial venture I find myself in and the market that I have entered.

    The example used about Chik-fli-a hit the nail on the head in an excellent way so that I could really comprehend the idea that was brought forth. I too will completely agree that my idea has changed from your writing about how to perceive entrepreneurship and the markets that entrepreneurs enter.

    Keep up the great work!

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  3. Caitlin,

    I have always known that competition is what drives the free market and is a huge reason behind many of the innovations that shape our world. What I did not think of is how if you fail to think outside of the box then you can get caught in a “keeping up with the jones’s” scenario where you only innovate as a reactionary process.

    Like you say, you have to be willing to “break-it” in order to get out of the reactionary mold and be more proactive as a business/entrepreneur. I like the comparison of Chic-fil-a and their way of choosing a different playing field when it came to competing with the burger joints.

    Thank you for sharing this post, I learned a ton!

    Best,
    Pete

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  4. Hi Caitlin!
    Your post resonates with me because I have been trying very hard to think outside the box in terms of my entrepreneurial pursuits. I love the idea of creating a working studio, but currently in my small town, there have been several working studios opening up. I am beginning to doubt my original ideas, and have been asking myself more and more to define what it is I can do differently than these other studios. I haven’t stumbled upon the answer yet, but I think reading your post made me realize that this sort of soul searching may be an important part of the process of creating my best idea. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!
    JOY

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