The fear of being left behind is real in business. Business owners are afraid of missing out on the next best thing. Fear that their competitors are going to get the jump on them. Fear of not having a competitive advantage. It’s a competitor FOMO mind storm.
So, what do you do when you’re afraid of being left behind in business?
Competitor FOMO & point of difference
I admit to being sucked into this for many years. It still bites me occasionally. What are they doing? How come they’re doing so well? What do they have that I don’t? Sound familiar?
It was eating me up inside. The doubt. The second-guessing. The FOMO was real!
There were two main things I did, and do, to stop going down the comparison rabbit hole.
Is it real?
As a business coach, I used to follow a lot of business coaches early on, then one day one of the badass coaches published their profit and loss for the month. Woah! Talk about eye-opening! Whilst their income was massive, their advertising expenses were huge! They were making a tiny profit. That’s when I realized – all is not what you see.
The next realization was that many of the people I saw as competitors don’t have the same family life. They’re single, I’m married. They’re without kids, I have 2 kids. They can work whenever and wherever they liked, I had very limited ability to do this. Time is money & while I learnt to be savvier with my time & time mindset, it just couldn’t replace the difference in responsibilities.
Then I found some coaches who had similar lifestyles and I dug a little below the surface. Another eye-opener. It reminded me of the realization of what my boss had to do when I first entered the public service, ie she sold her soul for her job. A number of the businesswomen who I thought were similar to me, were on a surface demographic, but when it came to our deeper drivers & psychographics we were very different. Our beliefs & values just didn’t align. Again, I was comparing myself to lemons when I was an orange.
I learnt, that all is not what it seems & when I dug a little deeper, I didn’t want what they had, I didn’t want to pay the price they did, or I didn’t want to sacrifice my beliefs and values for what they had.
When I realized that I was comparing apples or lemons and oranges, I knew I had to stop.
So what did I do?
I left groups.
I turned off notifications in groups.
I removed electronic temptation & for a few weeks I had to be incredibly mindful of not going for a sneak peek as to what they were up to. I had to value myself and my drivers (beliefs & values) more than my need to know what they were up to.
Fear of missing out on the next big thing
I admit it, I’m a tech geek & I have worked on the bleeding edge of technology & innovation in Government and it is COOL AF! I get the whole FOMO of missing out of being on the edge & catching the craze. So how have I come off that high?
Will this take me closer to where I need to be?
I had to learn to have dogged focus on my end goal. I had to constantly remind myself that that new shiny object may not be the be-all and end-all. It may not help me get to where I want to be. And…
I had to be OK with that.
Knowing where you’re going and being unapologetic about it helps give you blinkers and keeps you objective.
Don’t get me wrong, I still get FOMO over tech, and I have to look long and hard as to how it will help me – those pitches can be sticky.
Do I really need it?
Honestly ask yourself if you need it? Do you need that new course, or to attend that conference? Or can you buy in the experience and get it done faster or cheaper? Do you need that software? Or can your current ones do what you need if only you (or someone else) knew how to do it better? Do I need that new piece of kit/tech? No really, do you?
Just sit on it for 24-48 hours
Phone a friend
Read some bad reviews to counter your bias
Do an old fashioned for/against list
You may just save yourself some time and money in the long run. (I know, I’ve bought some stuff I regret. Just ask me about my microphone set up)
Fear of not having a competitive advantage
OMG, if I see another sale I’m going to scream. It seems like all the major stores are constantly on sale & that can pressure smaller business owners to think that that’s what they need to do to maintain an advantage. Be cheaper.
It’s not about what you want
You might think that your clients just want things cheaper, some do. Or they want stuff yesterday, some do. But seriously, what does your ideal client want? Do you honestly know?
What is their die in a ditch big problem that you fix? Is it saving them money or getting things to them sooner?
These are your competitive advantages! You will have a unique set which applies to your business. There’s all the chance that your competitors will be different, even ever so slightly, to your own and that is exactly how it should be.
Now before you claim BS. Just stop for a second and compare the different supermarket chains in your area or the different department or variety stores. They all do the same thing but they all have their competitive advantage that appeals to their ideal client. You & your competitors are no different.
Sometimes the fear of being left behind can also be brought back to central feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt or low self-worth. I can promise you that you can get through that & I’d like to show you how.