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In Business, You Can’t Win at Comparison Games, So Why Try?
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I love yoga for many reasons; one reason is that it’s a highly individual form of exercise that can be tailored to any body type or fitness level. Yet, when I find myself in a group yoga class I often find it difficult to remain focused on my own yoga practice instead of envying my neighbor who is balancing on her head as casually as she would sip a cup of coffee. It’s in moments like this one that I must remind myself that everyone’s yoga practice will and should look different, since no two bodies are alike. My job is to listen to my body and better understand its limitations and possibilities, rather than expend energy focusing on what everyone else is or isn’t doing.

I think a similar principle is at work in business. Paying too much attention to your competition is counterproductive when it robs you of energy to focus on your own business and tempts you to do and try things that aren’t best for your company right now. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about:

  • Switching everything to the cloud – I’ll be the first to advocate the many benefits of moving software solutions to the cloud, but I’ll also be the first to say that there is no one-size-fits all approach to the cloud. Not every business should move every program skyward. Before moving programs to the cloud, evaluate the short and long-term savings a cloud solution will bring to your business. You might find that it makes better long-term financial sense to leave some programs on-premise.
  • Undue emphasis on growth – It certainly makes sense to want to grow your business rapidly, especially in a challenging economy. But, as with taking a slow and measured approach toward social media marketing, ensure your goals for growth don’t get in the way of delivering high-quality products and services to your customers and clients. Remember that each year will look different for your business. You aren’t doing anything wrong when you spend some years focusing more on quality than on growth – you’re actually doing something right!
  • Social media overload – If you’re going to leverage social media platforms to market your business, focus on quality, not quantity. You don’t have to tackle Facebook, Twitter and a corporate blog all in one week. You might not even need to develop all of these platforms either! Rather than rush the process, consider the nature of your business and its audience, as well as your available manpower and talent and develop a social media strategy that takes all of these factors into account. You also may consider using a tool like Brandify, which can help your business understand and enhance its online presence.

Can you relate to the temptation to play comparison games in business? In what areas do you find yourself most tempted to compare?

Cindy BatesVice President, Microsoft SMB
Cindy Bates is Vice President of US Small, Medium Business and Distribution at Microsoft, responsible for the company’s end-to-end SMB sales and marketing efforts including SMB strategy, business development, regional field sales and national distribution sales, channel and customer marketing.
www.microsoft.com | @cindy_bates | More from Cindy

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