How do you deal with big competitors? How can you challenge your competitors? How do I gain market share? Russ and Dana discuss "A dozen ways to beat Goliath" from Chapter 13 of Patrick Bet-David's book, Your Next Five Moves.
Your Next Five Moves, by Patrick Bet-David
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Russ Harlow – Reliable Remediation – Disaster Restoration
Dana Dowdell 00:00
Hey there, if you're just tuning into this episode, this is part two of a dozen ways to beat Goliath. Inspired by the book, Your Next Five Moves by Patrick Bet-David. And if you didn't listen to part one, make sure to go back and listen to the previous episode where we detail tips one through six of how to beat Goliath, we hope you enjoy this episode. And as always, all the information can be found in the show notes about the book.
Russ Harlow 00:35
Number seven was keep a low profile initially, and I thought this was interesting. The author says, you know, you don't need to be taking Goliath head on all the time. Right? You don't have to spend your, you know, your early years in business rubbing people the wrong way. And, you know, making that kind of reputation and name for yourself. Sometimes, you can let your competitors wear him down, which is a little bit further down the list. But, you know, take time to do the things you need to do. You don't have to come out swinging, I guess is, you know, just start working on your business building, they won't even know you're around until it's maybe too late for them to do anything about you. One of the
Dana Dowdell 01:23
Russ Harlow 01:24
Well, yeah, right. He talks about in his earlier in the book he talks about when he first opened his agency, a larger the largest agency in the country sued him. And it was basically extortion, because he just had to pay him off in a settlement. And they were hoping that was enough to put them out of business because it was a big settlement. And he had a stroke it like millions of dollars, check. And so yeah, you can just kind of keep it under the radar for a little while. And you don't have to be don't put a target on your back right away, I guess is the important thing.
Dana Dowdell 02:07
That's staying in your lane, right? Like, if you know, that company ABC is a big competitor. Like, just know that you're not you're not that at that level, maybe or like that's not what if you want to be that sure you can work towards that. But that large competitor also didn't happen overnight. Either. And I think that's a little bit of this too, is like you have to frickin do the work. You have to frickin do the work. I didn't say the real F word Russ. I just said frickin. So, I don't think we have to put explicit on this one.
Russ Harlow 02:41
I'll do it anyway. It's just have it. But no, it's important, right? So, build, like, if you're going to battle, you're going to get supplies, you're going to train your troops, you're going to and that's what you're doing, build your foundation for your business, to prepare your business to go out there and stand on its own and fight. I think that's probably an important point. And when we look at strengths and weaknesses as a small business, right, you're quick, you can move quickly, you're more nimble. It's just like the big giant corporation is like, hard to turn hard to slow, like a big giant cruise ship, or an aircraft carrier. You're a motorboat, like you're nimble, you can poop you fry. Yeah, that's right. Like, but that's an advantage. You know, that's an inherent advantage of being small and you have to exploit it. They can't move fast, you can and that's a great advantage. One of the things that I think number nine, I'd like to talk about in particular is partnering with competitors, that share an enemy
Dana Dowdell 03:54
Oh, tell us, I feel like that does not happen a lot in your industry.
Russ Harlow 03:58
It, it doesn't have to, right? But that's something I've been working on from day one. Even though I was with a smaller franchise, I partnered with local independence that I trusted and grew to trust. And it started out with just trying to refer business if we're too busy or, you know, if it was, you know, somebody else looking for, do you know somebody else I can trust? You know that kind of thing. And Goliath obviously creates a lot of enemies. Like when you're number one, everybody shooting at you. Like I get it doesn't mean you're the best. You're just you're the biggest. So, if you look for ways to find synergy with the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Right? I mean, that's the concept. And in, we just started meeting this year, three of us, three small local independents. One guy has been in business for 12 years and others been in business for two or three now and we've been this is our sixth year. And so, we just started meeting every couple of months to talk about how we can support each other and refer business to one another. Because, again, it's an abundance mindset, there's plenty of work out there. And even one of the big franchises in our area refers us business. Because again, you can still build that relationship. And when they're too busy, they've got to give it to somebody else, they know that if you're going to take care of their client, it may still makes them look good. And so that's the idea behind working with some of your competitors.
Dana Dowdell 05:35
It's interesting, I don't know if I've ever told this story on the podcast. It's one of my, like, foundational mindset influences. But there was a competitor that started their business about the same time as I did. And I was devastated for a moment, but then I decided that there was an opportunity to connect there. And so, we did, we never had the chance to work together. But they referred us to all of their clients when they shut down their business. And it's their clients that are still people that we serve, you know, we probably get two of our largest retainer clients are ones that came from this direct competitor, but I also think like that is, I think that is a weakness of a larger Goliath is that they're not necessarily partnering with the small, you know, the small companies they're partnering with, the larger, the other gulyas. And had I not done that, we wouldn't have probably half of the clients that we have right now. So, it's a, it's a humble reminder that there, you can look at them as competition, but really, they could be a strategic partner.
Russ Harlow 06:54
Yeah, and, you know, with us, just from my own experience as three small independents, you know, when I sent out the email to propose that we get together and maybe consider doing it regularly to help each other. It was there was a little quote that I put in there that says, you can't compete with me, because I want you to win too. And so that's truly an abundance mindset. And we had already built a relationship to some extent. I mean, I had, we had referred work back and forth for a couple of years before we were even talking on the phone. And then we met on a job site once after, like three years. So, we said, we're going to take this to the next step, let's start really building relationship. I mean, we got together for breakfast in our first meeting, and we spent like two and a half hours, you know, swapping stories and talking about how we can help each other what we're struggling with. You know, that's where we started talking about some of the things that we're doing with my brand and social media and the things that, you know, they they're doing with their websites and trying to move forward. Like we're all in different places in our business, and we're all trying to do different things. So, I really, it's a really great opportunity for all of us to help each other. Because we're kind of all going in different directions. Right. And yet, when you have that conversation, you realize that's a safe place, and that you can work together. And I think that's it's going to be invaluable moving forward, as long as you stay successful, and we're meeting again in May. So, I'm excited about that relationship.
Dana Dowdell 08:31
I love that. And it's also, I mean, this is not part of this conversation, but I'm gonna mention it, like creating a network, right, creating a community to help you in business.
Russ Harlow 08:43
Yeah, absolutely. So, the author Patrick Bet-David suggested number 10 to study history, right? You can learn from history, get context strategies, you know, things that you didn't think about in your fight against Goliath because, you know, that's what it is. Because once they start taking notice it's going to be it's going to be a little bit more difficult for you. The knowledge is out there, go get it, it can really help you. This is something I haven't really done yet. I'm looking at history so I'm interested if you have any insight on it, but I'm gonna look for ways that I can do this and maybe try to find things that I can learn beyond just, you know, podcasts and books and things like that. Number 11 mentions letting your competitors where your opponent’s down. And this is I kind of alluded to this earlier, you don't have to be the one that has to be going toe to toe with Goliath every single time. You know, they have a lot of competitors, lot of enemies to fend off. You don't always have to be on the front lines. You can take your turn, you can stand back, let somebody else take some swipes at him for a while. You know, let them be in spotlight, you don't have to be up there all the time burning yourself out trying to tear down Goliath and rip away the market share.
Dana Dowdell 10:08
Yeah, it's like an energy thing, you know, like, do you, I have no, I have no interest in like taking down my competitors. Because there's a market for them to, you know, there's a market for them too. And maybe I maybe I should have an interest not to say that I think my mindset is the right one. But I'm like, you know, the large payroll companies, they have a purpose, you know, I don't do payroll. So, they have a purpose for existing, but maybe I do want to wear down their HR support clients, and there's got to be a better way to get support, if you're a small business.
Russ Harlow 10:48
I mean, for us, one of the things is trying to wrestle away market share from a company that, you know, gets direct referrals from the insurance carriers and, you know, has the brand name recognition, you know, they can do, they can spend the money on, you know, a Superbowl commercial. Okay, you know, so trying to wrestle that market share away is hard. But if you're not on the frontlines, battle him all the time, it allows you to kind of refocus your resources, and reposition yourself for that advantage to do the things you need to do. Yeah, I'm not really trying to tear down my competitors, either. It's really just trying to wrestle away market share by and we do that by trying to make ourselves stand out and those differentiating factors,
Dana Dowdell 11:41
How often do you think about your competitors? Like, are they? Or are they constantly in the back of your mind when you're doing things?
Russ Harlow 11:50
So, they don't hold a lot of real estate in my mind? You know, I don't give them that opportunity. You know, it comes up from time to time when, you know, we're facing a situation where we go out and a client maybe has their fully furnished and finished basement flood from a hot water heater, excuse me water heater, because that's it heats up water and makes it hot. So hot water heaters redundant. You know, we'll say they'll ask us questions like, Well, do you work with insurance, because I called my insurance company, and they said, I had to call their person. And that steering, it's illegal, they probably didn't say exactly that. But they certainly know how to make it sound like that. So, we know that dealing with that situation, we're probably going to get some pushback in the beginning. Because those preferred vendor programs come those big companies forge relationships with those big insurance carriers, and the carriers get their services at a discount. And so, it's a zero-sum game for the insurance company, though, the less they spend, the more they make. And we already said why we're better, you know, communication wise and taking care of our client. And if they are going to value that moving forward, our onboarding process helps them understand that and so helping prepare them for the challenges that might they might be facing with the carrier. And the idea that they have to use their competitor. You know, that's the time that it comes up. Other than that, you know, maybe I'll make some videos or something that puts them in a bad light once in a while, because of things we found or things they've done, or news stories that they're in, you know, but that's what are you gonna do? Your stats, marketing?
Dana Dowdell 13:29
Sure, yeah. It's definitely interesting, I don't think I do not think much about my competitors. I think I'm at this stage in business, even the smaller competitors, not the gulyas. But I just I'm not thinking about the state in business, where I'm like, very much just staying in my lane, trying to do what I do best. You know, and better than
Russ Harlow 13:55
Sure, absolutely, it makes sense. And I think the last thing I found interesting, and it's definitely when you start thinking about working with some of your competitors, in your industry, and even within your organization, as it starts to grow. This was an important point number 12 is don't disclose every aspect of your strategy. So, if you're a grandmaster, and you're planning five moves ahead, this would be self-explanatory. And because you haven't read the book, maybe I'll share a little bit from, you know, the previous 12 chapters. And the idea is, like, say you have a vice president of operations or something or you're growing, if you share every last bit of information with them, and they take that somewhere else. Even though you've built trust with them, I mean, let's face it, people change jobs. And so, if you disclose every aspect of your strategy, that could be a real disadvantage. So, you'd have to hold some cards close to the vest, and that's okay. Because you're planning five steps ahead. You're planning you know; this person may leave. Not that I don't trust them to do a great job. I'd rather hear or maybe yes, I'm working with my competitors, I'm not going to give them all of my secret sauce, right? I might be a hey, I can help you there or I can help, you know, have you considered this perfect example not giving away anything. One of my competitors still has a Yahoo, no Hotmail, email address or something. And I was like, dude, by the Google Suite,
Dana Dowdell 15:21
I think Google, they mean, come on guy.
Russ Harlow 15:23
I mean, you can have this email address forwarded to the other one, just, it's just please, just do it. Yeah, that's not giving anything away. But that's a way we can help support each other, you know, I'm pointing those things out because it could be a blind spot for him. And you know, maybe that makes a difference. Somebody looks at and goes at Hotmail really.
Dana Dowdell 15:45
So, it's really interesting. You say that, like, this is not part of this conversation or this topic. But I, I look at leads from that way, when I am like trying to figure out if a new business that's listed in a paper as a potential marketing client, if it's a Hotmail, or Gmail or anything like that, I'm like, No, they're not a legitimate business.
Russ Harlow 16:08
Yeah, I mean, no, I don't think everybody sees it that way. I think I'm guessing we're in the lower percentile that does that. Maybe? I don't know. But I definitely, for me, it was important enough to go, you know, get it.
Dana Dowdell 16:26
I also think it's like this list from Patrick Bet-David, you know, it's it. At the very end, it's helping you understand what is the key parts of your strategy that you should be holding close to? The vest?
Russ Harlow 16:45
Yeah, absolutely. And I, you know, those, it's in your next five moves is gonna be different based on your business, your industry, your region, your market, and all those things. It's, but it's about being aware what they are. So, you're, you're trying to plan, it's more like for me, it was like, hey, I put together a business plan this year. But now I gotta start planning five moves ahead, right? And how do we do that? It's a very good book, I enjoy all a lot of its content. And so, again, it's an abundance mindset. Go out there, check it out. It's a good opportunity to learn more, if you're not doing a book a month, maybe you should start. You know, if you know people that need to listen to our podcast, share it, there are other podcasts out there, I'm sure that you listen to, especially if you're trying to level up, share it with people. Now help them grow, you know, continue to grow yourself. Don't get stuck in a rut, you know, take your head up every once in a while, to look around and go. Hmm. I didn't realize I was heading this direction. So you got to keep your head up and your eyes forward and looking around, checking out where you're moving. Like us, follow us on all the places and all the things that it's just business podcast, share this podcast, thank you for being here at the end and listening. Share it with somebody that you know, needs to hear this. And, you know, drop us a line at email@example.com And you know, we'd love to hear what you have to say. Remember, it's not personal. It's just business.
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