April 20, 2010

Getting Past The Barriers to Entry

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While you're deciding whether to start something new, the barriers to entry are growing higher. When you do proceed, you need to meet those higher standards to be taken seriously.

If you're new to presentations, you might think clipart and standard templates are fine, but they're outdated.

You may be recording your first video, but now viewers expect good sound, editing and a clear picture (maybe even high definition).

If you're a pioneer, your audience is more forgiving. If you're a follower, you're seen as … a follower. Who's interested in another “me too”? To stand out, you'll need to be better than the current standard. That's tough without the experience that the pioneers got by making mistakes, fixing them and evolving.

So what happens? The higher barriers keep you out. Your competitors win. Don’t let them.

You don't need to be the first but early adopters get an advantages the copycats aren't likely to match.

Here's a simple example. I saw a Blu-Ray disc player from --- hold your breath --- Hewlett-Packard. Exhale. Do you think HP is going going to be a leader in this marketplace? Couldn't they use their resources better somewhere else?

Optical Illusions

The barriers may not be as high as they appear. For example, joining Linkedin today is fine if you set up a proper profile. You’ll look like you belonged for years. You may even look better than the earlier adopters.

This won’t always work, which is fair. For example, if you’re writing or posting video, visitors can easily see what you shipped and when you started.

When Late Is Early

Some businesses move faster than others. The tech industry experiments more than financial services. Youth are usually earlier adopters than 50-somethings.

This works to your advantage. Paying attention to what’s taking off in other industries or demographics, lets you bring ideas to your niche. You look like the leader when you’re really a follower. You then establish standards and barriers for your competition. Nice!

The Best Time To Start

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today.  --- Chinese proverb
You may not be too late. Brian Tracy says that the way to get to the front of the line is to
  1. get in line
  2. stay in line
That simple advice empowers you to start. Granted, you’ll need to meet today’s minimum standards. Maybe that means practicing in private until you’re ready for your debut.


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