On the one hand, we’d love to see our business become an inter-continental, ocean-spanning, towers-in-the-cloud world leader; on the other, we’re terrified of competing on such a big scale.
Let’s begin your drive to ultimately own your industry by overcoming the scariest possible size parameters.
Finding your market
Find a picture of the earth, as seen from space. Print it out, stick it on your wall, and caption it: My Target Market.
Why? Well, there are two reasons. The first is that it gets you thinking big; beyond the limits of your town, province or country. It electrifies the bit of your brain that handles possibility-thinking, nudging it toward entertaining the bold prospect of world domination.
Looking over the enticing shapes of continents, your subconscious mind will start ticking away at the mechanics necessary to achieve it.
The second reason is just the opposite of the first. When you stare at the entire world, as one small, round object, defined and finite, it somehow deflates the fear associated with that size. Staring at it, you can observe: There’s the world, and it’s all I’ll ever have to worry about. It never gets any bigger than that.
Narrowing your focus
Now let’s chop it up a little further. In your bid to own your industry, you are not actually competing against seven billion others. Not by a long shot.
For starters, you’re reading this article. One in five people on earth couldn’t manage that feat. Exclude children and people too old to work, and those who are not allowed to work because of restrictive cultures, and you will find yourself among a fairly small swathe of people. And of those, how many are involved in your industry?
Let’s continue: Of the people involved in your industry, how many do you suppose are proactive enough to seek insight and education on how to become prominent; to reach the very top of the pile; rather than simply doing enough to get by?
And it’s not about who’s the best.
Do you have to be the most technically proficient, in order to ‘own’ your industry? The answer, surprisingly, is no.
While it’s important, technical proficiency does not equate to domination of an industry.
Your expert positioning
That shows us that there is something else at play, and it’s called ‘positioning.’ Top industry icons are using a combination of publicity, personality and wide-spread presence to become household names.
Similarly, the best products also do not necessarily become the best-selling products. Sometimes presence and publicity can raise the sales of a merely good product over a great one.
Sometimes, one key variable makes all the difference.
It’s frustrating, but it happens: One entrepreneur spends years on his craft. His work is impeccable, his standards unimpeachable, his industry knowledge unparalleled. He prospers to a certain degree.
His competition, however, becomes the most easily found on a Google search, and consequently, utterly dominates the industry.
Know your real competition
So what conclusions can we reach?
- Firstly, the world is not as big as we initially think. You are competing against a few hundred – perhaps a few thousand – key players.
- Secondly, if you desire to position yourself at the top of an industry, and genuinely strive to accomplish that feat, you are already well ahead of a great many practitioners who have no such desire, which in itself is an encouraging thought.
- Thirdly, there is no need to be awed and put off by highly skilled practitioners. While important, technical proficiency is not necessarily the deciding factor. Prominence and positioning can often count for more, and sometimes, one key variable, such as visibility, can make all the difference.