The Challenge of Your Competition

By Chuck Reaves

How do you view your competition? Are they a threat or are they a challenge?

Akio Morita, a Japanese businessman, had formed a company called Tokyo Telecommunications. His company’s main product had been tape recorders, but with the advent of transistors, the product line had been expanded to include radios and televisions. The market in Japan was too small for Morita; he wanted to export. As he traveled around the world, most countries either prohibited him from bringing his products into the country or placed so many restrictions on the transaction that it would not be profitable to Tokyo Telecommunications. These countries were afraid that the competition from Morita’s company would harm the domestic manufacturers.

One country allowed Morita to market his products. About the people of this country Morita said, “I admire their confidence in their own abilities.” The country was the United States. Morita renamed his company so people could remember it. He called it “Sony.”

The influence of Sony in the American marketplace caused the innovative manufacturers of electronic equipment to become even better. It caused the weaker companies to complain.

Sony had taken the transistor, an idea pioneered by Bell Labs, and had used it to build a multimillion-dollar market. Sony had used its strength in marketing to succeed with someone else’s idea.

How do you respond to competition? Do you try to put it down or find ways to prevent it? Or do you try to find ways to capitalize on it?

Everyone learns from the competition. Some people learn how to improve, others learn how to lose gracefully. Some want to be the only kid on the block, others want to be the best kid on the block. If nothing else, your competition will reveal what kind of person you are.

Remember, you cannot hold a person down unless you’re willing to stay down with him. Grow with your competition, allow them to be the absolute best that they can be. And then, be just a little bit better yourself.