Posts Tagged ‘competition’

In the post Nonprofit Does Not Mean Non-Success, I noted that nonprofits should not position themselves from a position of weakness or assumed failure.  It’s important that we also understand that we have competition, a lot of competition.  A company that produces toilet paper knows its competition, can measure it, scale it and strategize to gain market share.  Nonprofits live a different existence — donor dollars are discretionary, a family vacation can replace a donation, other providers (for and non-profit) can entice away both members and donors by creating a perception of greater value.

At times, some nonprofits are there own worst competition — hesitating to act, refusing to ask, focused on minor details, over-planning, under-planning, and deviating from their mission.

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon recommends creating “a culture of customer obsession”, rather than obsessing over competition.  It can be challenging to lead when we’re following or reacting to the work of others.  It can prevent us from seeing opportunities or fearing risk and innovation.  Successful organizations are affecting the environment rather than allowing it to affect their operations.

photo by: luisrock62

Wouldn’t it be preferable to be the one others are chasing and trying to keep up with?  Certainly must be more fun.  What is the obsession of your culture?

In following or leading, each will only thrive when and if we allow it — neither occurs without permission.


I’m a huge fan of Seth Godin, not sure of his title beyond author, but I’d call him a biz futurist.  In a recent blog (click here to read it) he shares some insightful thoughts on competition.  Seth’s gift is to inspire thought — and for the intelligent few, action.  He notes that “competition is everywhere, we just forget to notice it”.


I’m fond of often saying that our greatest competition is ourselves — our limiting thoughts, hesitancy to act, refusal to commit, failure to communicate, etc.

All businesses have competition in the other common industry providers — all fighting for the almighty market share.  What about the other competition we face, but not directly?

If your product or service is a choice — recreation, health and wellness, entertainment, child care, nutrition, vitamins, or consulting it may fall into a consumer’s or business’ discretionary spending.  You compete with EVERY other alternative commodity that can be purchased.  Instead of your consulting services, the company can choose to give every employee monthly movie passes, gym memberships, bonuses or car allowances.

Look beyond your inter-industry competition to make sure you are providing constant value to your customers, clients or members.  Competition is everywhere, notice it.

Be remarkable, not replaceable.

p.s.  Seth has a new book out titled “Linchpin” — let’s do ourselves a favor and buy it.