User Guide: Competitive Advantage

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I assume that if you’re reading this, you’re working in the 3D-imaging industry and part of the revolution that will legitimately change mankind. Our industry is seeing inconceivable growth and the technology is starting to have an impact on our daily lives. But it’s still immature, and the massive investment being made into the world of 3D is hard to quantify.

One thing is for certain: there is new competition on a monthly basis. There’s a combination of start-ups and existing companies who have bolted on 3D offerings to augment their business. There are also a plethora of small new software/hardware businesses—all developing new technologies at a lightning pace. 

So how can you possibly attempt to compete against the rising tide without getting swallowed? How can you maintain profitability? How should you respond? How can you keep existing clients while hunting new opportunities? How do you handle your competition?!?

Rule #1: Ignore your competition

Yep, I said it, and I think you should make it part of your company culture. Surveyors/engineers and other left-brainers pay particular attention: Every minute you spend worrying about your competition is a complete waste of your time. 

Why? Because you can’t possibly monitor another business, develop a contingency plan of attack, and stay focused on improving your own company. Worrying about your competition is like chasing a shark with a slingshot. You can’t see it clearly, you can’t affect its direction, you have no idea where it’s going, you don’t know its motives, there’s no telling if it’s healthy or not, it’s impossible to kill with your slingshot, and it will take you off your course. 

We are in an industry that is evolving so quickly, there’s no way you (or anyone) can digest all the changes, never mind pay attention to anyone else. Focus your energy intensely on the tactical approach to your mission. Your team will be more productive, and your clients will be better served. Oh yea, and you’ll make more money.

Rule #2: Help your competition.

Now it’s confirmed I’m suffering from a concussion, right?! 

If you help others, you will undoubtedly learn their best practices, and these may help your own team improve. More importantly, you’ll see things from a unique perspective, one that allows you to learn. In an evolutionary industry like this one, we can never stop educating ourselves.  

Don’t worry about giving up your secrets—I don’t. This is because if I gave you my business plan for 2015, you couldn’t possibly replicate it. Your company’s strengths/weaknesses are different than ours, we probably have different visions, and there’s a chance (hopefully small) that my plan sucks and you’d sail off a cliff into the darkness with me.

Also, if you help your competition, you see what they’re about. This allows you to further differentiate your company and drive your success. You will be able to deliver a unique message to your customers and effectively give them a reason to pick you for the job. 

Rule #3: Focus on defining and refining your company without looking over your shoulder.

Your competition will not determine your success/failure—you will. As I’ve said many times, make a plan and continually update your plan based on what you’ve learned.

Whether you share these beliefs or not, the fact is we are in this together. We are collectively driving a market forward, one that is not likely to mature anytime soon and offers endless possibilities. 

Any questions/comments—please email me at ken@eco3dusa.com

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About Author

Kenneth Smerz

In an attempt to shine light on the rather significant question that service providers throughout the U.S. have struggled with, I’ll be authoring a series of articles that address some challenges service providers face and hopefully offer some constructive advice gleaned through my work running Precision3D Scanning. I want to emphasize that my opinions are just that—and nothing makes me more qualified than anyone else trying to earn a living in an emerging marketplace. I encourage your feedback.

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