All successful firms usually settle into a comfortable rhythm. They know what they do and what they are good at. And then they deliver on that repeatedly.
…Until what they do is, all of a sudden, not what the market wants any more.
Compared to just 10 years ago, the traditional competitive “moats” that big companies have used to limit competition have perished.
In the past, big companies enjoyed the competitive edge of possessing exclusive knowledge, resources, and training. Today, however, the Internet has democratized access to knowledge, offering an abundance of free or low-cost education and training to anyone that wants it. This has levelled the playing field for smaller companies and individuals.
We no longer have the advantage of easy access to our local market. Global communications and world-wide shipping mean that we are contending with global competitors. A startup can build and launch into our local market from anywhere in the world.
Nowadays it’s cheaper and faster than ever to build products. Geographical barriers that once protected local markets from outside competition have vanished. Scale of operations no longer gives us the advantage we are used to. We are competing with businesses in low-cost countries, and even smaller local companies can often match our cost-base.
It used to be that customers had a fairly limited choice, making it easier for companies to maintain a loyal customer base. But these days there is massive competition in almost every category. Customers are more likely to switch products and try out competitors. Today the customer is firmly in control.
So just how do we compete with all these new competitors?
We play them at their own game.
Where our fledgling competitors are driven by entrepreneurs, we can foster their lesser-known sibling: the intrapreneur.
Intrapreneurs are people that behave like entrepreneurs but inside established companies. The are given limited freedoms and financial support to create new products and services, and typically enjoy opt-outs from many of the company’s usual procedures and rules.
As Sir Richard Branson says:
Every business needs an entrepreneur to get it underway, but continued healthy growth requires a smattering of intrapreneurs who drive new projects and explore new and unexpected directions for business development.
What are you doing to nurture your budding intrapreneurs?
[RELATED: Intrapreneurship Training Programme – Learn how to create the products and services customers really want, as quickly as a start-up.]