Business is competitive, no matter which stage of business you're in. Perhaps you're already established like McDonald's, Spotify, and Uber--and are simply looking for ways to stay atop of the respected industry.
Or you could be a little known business who is still in the early stages and clawing their way to a seven-figure year.
No matter the stage, it's a great idea to survey the business landscape to see what other successful companies are doing. Not to be a copycat, but to see the habits and actions that are keeping them competitive and relevant.
The latest example of a leader continuing to place themselves in an ideal position inside a competitive industry is CVS.
As reported at CNBC, CVS is planning to open "hundreds" of SmileDirectClub locations inside their stores this year. And even looking out further, CVS plans to open more than 1,000 stores over the next two years.
A SmileShop is where customers receive a 3d scan of their teeth that will then be used to create a pair of invisible braces tailored for them.
It may seem odd that CVS pharmacy is getting more into the "smile business", but if you unravel a few layers, this is a genius move that entrepreneurs can learn from for these two reasons.
1. Get outside your industry bubble.
With the business landscape becoming more and more competitive, entrepreneurs will have to flex their creative muscles more.
An example of a company thinking outside the norm is McDonald's who recently acquired Tel Aviv based startup Dynamic Yield, in order to make the process of fast food more personalized.
CVS, realizing more and more people shop online have increased their focus on health and beauty products in order to hopefully lure customers back to their physical store locations. Adding the ability to help people with their teeth only compounds their efforts.
As you survey your particular industry, how can you differentiate your business? It could be messaging, marketing, values, and processes among many other things. Staying safe and "as is" isn't going to cut in this business landscape.
2. Move with speed.
A mentor once told me that money loves speed. I likened this because to move with speed often means to deal more uncertainty and skeptical looks from people.
While there will be uncertainty when you move with speed, you can help lessen this by testing in incremental batches.
For example, CVS initially ran a pilot of the Smileshops with six locations and eventually expanded upon to 13 locations. The reception was positively received and CVS swiftly moved to rapidly expand the concept.
If you have a product or service that you want to introduce to the market, follow the CVS plan of gradually testing to see how it's received. Once you have more data, you can move with even more speed during the next phase.
With a sense of urgency and a dose of creativity, you can make yourself unmistakable in the marketplace.