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What Can We Learn: Part 1 – The Shutdown

I’m a big fan of learning. I like to look at a situation and see if that circumstance can teach me anything. Since my background is in marketing and communication, the lessons learned are often related to that.

I’m going to write a series studentover the next few weeks based on just that: learning important lessons from unusual situations.

The big news today of course is the shutdown of the non-essential parts of the Government of the United States of America. Pretty incredible that grown adults can let things deteriorate to the mess that the US finds itself in. No matter. Let’s look at the shutdown and see if there aren’t any marketing lessons to be learned. Since politics = marketing, this should be an easy one.

Sure, the Democrats and the Republicans disagree. Political parties usually do. Still, one likes to believe that they have their citizens’ best interests at heart. Not this time.

In business, you want to provide a product or service to your target customer, in a manner that serves the customer right, and makes the business money.  In government, that customer is the taxpayer.

Sometimes, business owners get it in their heads that the object of the business is to beat the competition. When you believe that, you are well on your way to ruin. That is what the American political parties believe today. They are past caring what the Right Thing to do is. All they want to do is to beat, and be seen beating, the other party.

The lesson here, as expected, is simple. If you focus on your competition, you lose. If you focus being the best service or product there is, you will succeed. Yes, be aware of what your competition is doing, but if that’s all you concentrate on, if all you want to do is beat someone, your product and your service suffers.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t want to win. You should, and badly. Do that by giving your full time and attention to making your business the best business it can be. Hopefully, if you take a glance at what your competition is up to, it will be in the rear view mirror.

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