SBS-Small Business Systems

THE LAW OF TIME

Just do it. You have to be fast. You have to be focused. You have to be strategic.

Haste makes waste, but waste is often the most important ingredient in a successful Internet launch.

If you want to be successful in business, in branding, & in life . . . you have to get into the mind first. Notice we said “mind,” not “marketplace.”

Being first in the marketplace doesn’t buy you anything except a license to try to get in the mind first. If you throw away that opportunity by being too concerned with getting all the details right, you’ll never get it back. (Perfection in infinite time is worth nothing.) What many managers are calling “the firstmover advantage” is a myth. There is no automatic advantage to being the first mover in a category unless you can make effective use of the extra time to work your way into the prospect’s mind.

A strategy that many large companies use effectively is to quickly jump on an idea developed by a smaller company. With its greater resources, the larger company can often win “the battle of the mind” and create the perception that it was first in the marketplace.

If you are the CEO of a smaller company, beware. You need to move exceptionally fast. Be quick or be dead. Marketplace Darwinism is survival of the fastest.

First in the mind doesn’t mean “early” in the mind either. Too many companies are satisfied with being “one of the first” brands in the category. That’s not the same as getting into the mind first and creating the perception that you are the leader.

Yahoo! was introduced in 1994 as the first search engine on the Internet. Today Yahoo! is the leading search engine and second only to AOL in the rankings of most-visited Websites.

eBay was introduced in 1995 as the first auction site on the Internet. Today eBay is by far the leading auction site on the Net, with 264 million items listed for sale last year in some eight thousand product categories.

Amazon.com was introduced in 1995 as the first bookstore on the Internet. Currently the company sells almost $2 billion dollars’ worth of books a year, many times that of its nearest competitor, Barnesandnoble.com. Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com’s founder, was named Time magazine’s person of the year for 1999.

Bluemountain.com was introduced in 1996 as the first electronic greeting-card site. Currently the site receives 10 million unique visitors a month, more than all its competitors combined. The site was sold for $780 million to Excite @ Home, who recently resold it to American Greetings. Priceline.com was introduced in 1998 as the first company to sell airline tickets on the Internet with a “name-your-own-price” bidding system. Today Priceline.com is far and away the leading site on the Web for discount airline tickets and hotel rooms. Every seven seconds, someone names their own price at Priceline.com.

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