This is a series of revelations about my life that I am sharing with others for what it may be worth. These come from a lifetime of study and experience of others and myself, and I now translate them to words. These will be numbered; however, they are not in order of importance as all are equally important. It is just a way for me to keep track of them in this series. I hope you find value in them.
Competition, Purple Cows, The Pie, and Cooperation.
I don’t believe in competition. It wouldn’t matter much to me how many were in business in the same town with the same service or product. I know that there are a lot of people who don’t agree with me and who do believe in the idea of competition, or the dog eat dog idea of survival of the fittest.
After all, they claim, the pie is only so big and we gotta get our share before the other guy. We gotta focus on market share and we need more of the market share and all that baloney. If, as they claim, the pie is only so big, then it would be true that the only way for me to have more is to take it from someone else so they would have less. It’s just mathematics at this point.
I do believe in Purple Cows. Seth Godin wrote a wonderful book in 2002 called Purple Cow. Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable. It’s not about stealing from others, it is about creating something remarkable that others will want. Fortunately, there are many ways to do that and it is only limited by ones creativity and desire. While some may focus here, all we have to do is focus there and that changes everything. I teach this exact thing in how to manage a great commercial truck department. It’s about being remarkable and innovation.
Also, rather than the idea of competition, I prefer cooperation. It’s a foreign concept in the field I spent most of my life in. Car dealerships pretend to thrive on competition. I call it competing over the lowest gross profit, and they call it market share leadership. Yet, I have proven to myself many times over that by encouraging cooperation rather than competition, we all win.
This brings me to The Pie. Competition believes the pie is limited and so the only way to increase your share of the pie, you must take market share from someone else, and the more you take, the more leadership you enjoy. Cooperation believes that the pie is not fixed and that it actually expands by virtue of cooperation. In this case, everyone can have more if they want it and they do not have to take anything from anyone else.
I have instituted and promoted cooperation with other auto dealers, other body companies, other businesses since about 1979, and have grown stronger in my support of that idea from the massive successes I’ve had by practicing it. There are so many ways to do this, and help others at the same time. I worked for one truck body company and sold many so-called competitive makes at the same time by trying my best to help the end user get what they needed or my dealers get what they wanted for their clients. I didn’t get paid directly for selling the competitive bodies, but in the long run, I benefited sufficiently by helping get the job done for my clients and their customers. That is cooperation–even if others don’t actually cooperate, if you know what I mean by that.
James Cash Penney (J.C. Penney to most), said it this way: “A merchant who approaches business with the idea of serving the public well has nothing to fear from the competition.” I also like Franklin D. Roosevelt’s quote: “Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.”
“What Is The Difference Between Competition And Cooperation? The Outcome.” — Albert K Strong
Spread Some Joy Today–Personal Thank You cards are old school. But they are so well received.