How Do You Make Sure You Have the Competitive Advantage?
Taking the initiative and grabbing the competitive advantage is a must as the adage “You snooze, you lose”, whilst oft used in jest, is a fact of life. As I type this, I’m looking down at my Xbox One, freshly purchased and armed with all the latest “Next-Gen” console technology. However, I wonder how many people weren’t as lucky as me in procuring one!
I have to admit, I wish Steve had pre-ordered one, since I remember the madness that ensued following the launches of both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. However, for some reason, this latest step up the technological ladder didn’t grab him in the run up……that is until the 21st November – the day before the launch! At that time, something happened to Steve. He panicked. He out and out panicked.
Don’t ask me why – I have absolutely no idea – nevertheless he began to sweat. Maybe it was seeing the slick advertisement on TV for the umpteenth time that drilled home the desire. Maybe it was his brother’s excited tweeting about the forthcoming release and his imminent trip to the local GAME store for the midnight launch party. Maybe it was my “banging on” (Steve’s words no doubt!) about the fact that I wanted one. I have, after all, been asking him to pre-order one since they were announced, yet he had chosen not to do so and now risked being ostracised by his own wife until he had found one (OK, I could have pre-ordered one myself, but as I say, why have a dog and bark yourself teehee!)
The Search Begins
Now, both Steve and I knew that everywhere would be stacked to the rafters with those smarty pants folks (again, Steve’s disgruntled words) who’d pre-ordered come midnight, and that the likes of little old Steve who had been daft enough to ignore the hype, would be left high and dry in the midst of countless happy shoppers, gleefully waving their shiny green boxes in his general direction. As such, he decided against chancing his arm at the local Tesco Extra at midnight (later proven to be an extremely wise decision!) Instead, he chose to call into as many possible stockists on the way to and back from his Networking on the Friday morning. In the meantime, he tweeted a request that if any of his followers knew of anywhere likely to have stock, they let him know. Surprise surprise – that drew a blank.
So, Steve’s Friday 22 November started earlier than usual, with me at the other end of the phone awaiting updates on his success (or lack of). His networking starts at 8am and is around an hour’s drive away, so he decided that a 6am start would give him time to call in to Tesco and Asda before the meeting. Both of those avenues also drew a blank, so he was left to wait and “stew” until after networking finished at 10am (he knew that this was going to give others like him (who hadn’t pre-ordered) an advantage in getting to the stores to snap up any “unattached” consoles first.)
Together, we planned his route back to the office in order that it took in a Tesco Extra, another Asda, a Game and two branches of Currys. One of them was bound to have stock, right? Wrong! Bugger (pardon my French!) Then, a brainwave……White Rose Centre! Since he wasn’t too far away, off I sent him (by this time, he’d taken half a day off work!! Oh well, I’m sure I’ll cope!! LOL)
At the White Rose Centre, he parked strategically at one end so he could “up and down” the mall. First stop Sainsbury’s – no luck there. Next, Game – he was met with a long queue and apparently at the till, when he got there, he was met with a stare that suggested he had two heads as he was told there would be pre-orders only until Xmas. This was going to be a long day! Next HMV – except apparently it wasn’t there any more (when did that close down?) Then finally, in desperation, the tiny technology department within Debenhams – no surprises that they didn’t have any!!!
His next text was full of dejection as he announced he was setting off home, then silence – for over an hour, silence.
When he got home, he looked all sad and dejected, so I comforted him as a wife would – “Why didn’t you pre-order one” I yelled at him as he entered the office (LOL). He explained how he’d tried so hard and that he had decided, as he walked past Argos, “why not”. I mean – Argos – like they’d have any!! But how wrong could he be!!! OK, so they didn’t have any in store there to be taken away, but they did have stock in their warehouse for delivery on Monday!!! WOOHOO!! HE DID IT!!! (and on Monday, the shiny green box arrived!!)
The Moral of the Competitive Advantage Story Is…
So, is there a moral to this story? Well, I’d say there is – besides the obvious “If at first you don’t succeed”, I’d suggest that getting ahead of the crowd is a good one to take away from this (Steve, take note!!!) “You snooze, you lose” applies in business too, so be sure to grab any competitive advantage you can and get in there before your competition does, otherwise there might not be anything left for you!