When it comes to business we are always told of how good competition is and how it benefits the consumers by compelling companies to bring their prices down. What we rarely get to hear is the pressure that emanates from this competition. Company executives spend afternoons with severe headaches caused by the constant threat of being run out of business by their competitors.
In many cases, companies even resort to sabotage in order to deal with the threat of a rival company. Sabotage in this case can take lots of forms, including but not limited to, luring of their rival’s top performing staff, engineering bad publicity plus lots of other underhand methods. Countries always have regulatory bodies to guard against such practices and in Rwanda it is the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority while other cases are often referred to the commercial courts for arbitration.
However, anyone involved in a business even if it is a monopoly should always be preoccupied with staying one step ahead of his/her competitors and you do not have to play dirty to pull this off. Actually you also need to stay a step ahead of yourself. It is called innovation. The process of reinventing your production processes and products to retain a kind of freshness that keeps customers flocking your way.
It is unfortunate that many companies resort to unfair and underhand practices instead of investing the same energy in positive innovation and creativity that can see them leaving their competitors in a trail of dust. Instead of spending nights contemplating on how to ‘kill’ your rivals why not channel that energy into efforts to breathe a new lease of life into your business.
The largest and most successful companies in the world are known to invest lots of money in research and innovation. Some of them even fund university based research aimed at getting their hands on the latest technologies and strategies aimed at cutting costs and increasing sales.
Others especially in the tech industry even go as far as buying smaller companies that come up with ground breaking technologies. Every other day you hear of Google buying up a smaller tech company and adding it to its portfolio or using it to strengthen its operations and products.
I know it may be a tough call for companies here to engage in the kind of innovation that industry leaders worldwide engage in but still a lot can be achieved by simply taking the
time to study market trends and new technologies. Always ask yourself, how you can make the customers’ experience more worthwhile.
I know some local companies that have given innovation a shot and it has paid off. They have earned a class of clients who are willing to pay the price in order to partake in the wonderful experience that has come out of their innovations.
In the hospitality industry, there are indeed places you will go to and be blown away by the innovative ways in which products are presented for the client to experience. If you are still in doubt I suggest you visit the different coffee shops in town.
Failing to innovate will see your competitors give you a bloody nose while you are stuck with doing things the same old way. I am sure you have seen how Kodak was swept into bankruptcy by the changing digital photography technology. Who knew?