With the information age came the massive expansion of service availability. These days, people in far-flung corners of the world with living costs way below yours can compete without ever crossing any borders.

I recently had to disappoint a friend who shared his business idea with me, because he was planning on producing something generic and mostly competing on price. 

In most cases, competing on price is actually beyond our means. In a global world, trying to supply the cheapest X is a losing proposition from the start, and a race to the bottom the rest of the way.

Even if you have a technological advantage, it likely won’t last. If you only have an innovative idea, it will either be ignored by the market or copied fast. And when they do copy you, they will say “anyone could have thought of that, the idea is generic”.

The good news is, you can still retain the advantage you found along with superior expertise in the market, which my friend has in abundance, to solve specific, costly problems in an innovative way.

As long as your price is based on the value of your knowledge, not your costs, you can stay competitive. And even when the cheap knockoffs arrive, everyone will be able to tell the me-too products or services from the real thing. Bad clients may run after savings, leaving you with good clients who will help you stay competitive in the long run.

True story.


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