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TREP LIFE

Matt Lehrer: 'Solve a Problem That Has Never Been Solved Before'

The founder of Teamwork Athletic Apparel says he has to work harder and smarter than ever before to keep his new products ahead of the competition's.
Customers can design their own custom uniforms on Teamwork Athletic Apparel's website, choosing from hundreds of different combinations of colors, fabrics, and logos.
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If you're running a successful company, your competition is trying everything it can to best your products, services, and prices.

Matt Lehrer, the founder and CEO of San Marcos, California-based sports clothing company Teamwork Athletic Apparel, says his competitors are relentlessly innovating, to the point where they're nipping at his heels.

"It used to be that we came up with something innovative and we'd have five years before anything gets copied. Now it's at the point that [a similar version of] our best-selling product is on the cover of everyone else's catalog," Lehrer says in an Inc. Trep Life mini-documentary. "When the next catalog comes out, we have six months to nine months worth of competitive advantage with anything we do. Now we have five or six well-backed, strong companies that do everything we do, and some of them do some things better. So getting a new customer is hard."

The key to beating your competitors is to never stop innovating, and push your employees to find new avenues of business, Lehrer says.

"I am trying...to bring a very analog, old-school business and not only bring it up but bring it 10 years ahead of the market. The hustle right now is to getting the team to think digitally, to really think in the way of modern tools and create markets," Lehrer says. "We have to be innovative and have to go out and add value in ways in which people didn't really believe they needed a product or needed a service, or solve a problem that has never been solved before."

Get more insights on innovation from Lehrer in the video below.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

How Running a Business Is Like Flying a Plane

CEO Matt Lehrer has bootstrapped his customized athletic apparel business to 400 employees and growing--all while finding a way to incorporate his passion for flying and time with his family. Here's how he does it.

 
Last updated: Aug 6, 2014

WILL YAKOWICZ | Staff Writer | Reporter, Inc.com

Will Yakowicz is a staff writer for Inc. magazine. He has covered business, crime, and local politics for The Brooklyn Paper and was the editor of Park Slope Patch. He has also reported on the West Bank and Moscow for Tablet Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.




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