Do Your Competitors Have an ‘Unfair Advantage’?

I have the worst luck with go karts.

This all started back in college when I went racing with a buddy of mine.

I got stuck with what had to be the slowest car in the pack.

There I was, the nerdy college senior, standing on the accelerator while 13-year-old punks zip by me and laugh and laugh…

(Did I mention I’m competitive?)

Last week I took some time off for a “family fun day,” and we decided to hit the go kart track.

It was the first time for my sons—they’re still to young to ride by themselves, so they got to ride shotgun with dad.

When the attendant motioned me and my oldest to the green Rita’s Italian Ice kart, I crossed my fingers that this time I wouldn’t find myself with a dog this time.

The light turns green, I mash the pedal and…

Watch the other cars lurch forward while I putter along in the rear by myself.

Sigh, here we go again…

This car was so slow that the other racers lapped me.

On the straightaways I’d be stomping on the accelerator and they’d pass me like I was going backwards, grinning and cackling at my misfortune…

(Did I mention I’m competitive?)

That feeling of getting left in the dust reminds me of how I’ve sometimes felt as an entrepreneur and marketer.

You see all these case studies and success stories on blogs and Twitter…

Launches that bring in $60,000…

Landing pages that convert cold traffic at 56%…

Ad campaigns that net email subscribers at $0.20 a piece…

Why do I always seem to get stuck with the slow car?

You know what?

Sometimes you just have to accept the reality of your market and your business.

Maybe your customers are naturally more skeptical for some reason (like say, software developers).

Or they’re less fanatical than people in some other niches.

Or they’re harder to reach than consumers in the broad “mass markets.”

You can’t compare your results to what other people are getting, because you don’t have their engine.

So back at the racetrack, I finish dead last.

Now it’s my middle son’s turn to ride with dad, and…

Wait, you’re kidding me, right?

Rita’s Italian Ice AGAIN?

Only this time it’s worse:

Thanks to my last place showing in the previous race, this time I’m starting clear at the back.

At least I’m mentally prepared though, and I decide to do what I can to make up for my lack of speed with *execution*.

(Did I mention I’m competitive?)

From GO I focus down like a laser, and pretty soon I notice something:

Because I’m slower I can take the turns tight at full speed while the other cars swing to the outer edge of the track.

Hey, I actually have an advantage here…

A couple laps later I whip around a hairpin turn, passing another cart and—find myself in the lead!

I milk those turns for all they’re worth and hold my own for another 3-4 laps before slipping into second on the final straightaway.

I didn’t win.

But I by finding the ONE thing I could do better than anyone else, I FAR outstripped what I though was possible.

Maybe you feel like YOU’RE stuck in the slow car.

Other businesses have “better” customers…

Or “better” products…

Or “better” experience and credibility…

Not much you can do about most of that.

What you CAN do is continually tighten up YOUR game.

All the while hunting for your “unfair advantage.”

(Trust me, you have one.)

And who knows—you just might look up one day and find yourself leading the pack.