Invisible Competition

microISV competition and invisibilityIf you use invisibility creatively, it will enhance your chances of success. So says Bill Russell, the only basketball player to win an NCAA Championship, an Olympic Gold Medal, and an NBA Championship in one year – and the author of the book “Russell Rules – 11 Lessons on Leadership from the Twentieth Century’s Greatest Winner.”
Bill Russell wasn’t particularly writing with the software development industry in mind. But his ideas apply very nicely to the world of microISVs. Here I’ve taken the liberty of translating his ideas into the software business.
We don’t have to be in our competitors’ faces to compete effectively with them, Russell tells us. We can quietly contact prospects, quietly develop better software, and quietly enhance our market share.
You can be subtle as you shape how you’re seen by competitors and by stakeholders in the industry. Create a powerful reputation – a powerful brand – and you’ll appear to be bigger than you really are in the marketplace.
But you don’t have to make every aspect of your business visible to your prospects, customers – or competitors. Describe what your software does, and how it benefits your customers. But don’t necessarily explain how you engineered the software to accomplish these goals. Keep that part of your business invisible.
Use your website and blog to talk about the benefits of using your applications. But don’t brag about how long it took you to develop specific parts of your software. Your prospects and customers don’t care. And your competitors don’t need to know. Keep that part of your software development company invisible.
Talk about the direction that you’re taking your company if it will help you with current and future sales. But don’t give your competitors insights into your plans for capturing additional market share. Keep that part of your strategy invisible.
Invisibility can help you sculpt the way that others perceive you, your company, and your products or services.
     – by Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Blog guy