Why You Need To Be #1 or #2

sidecarlogoGE has a mantra that they intend to be #1 or #2 in any market they serve, and if they can’t they will exit the market. In my first book on Marketing, It’s Not Rocket Science: Using Marketing to Build a Sustainable Business, I noted that companies must strive to be #1 or #2 as the world only really needs two suppliers of anything. (The best one and the great one you can turn to if you don’t like the best one for any reason. A sole supplier, no matter how good, tends to make its customers mad over time, as people want a choice.)

That does not suggest you have to be a big company to make it in the world. It means you have to be #1 or #2 with the group of customers you could serve. When Sam Walton started his retail store, his goal was to be the best (#1) retailer in town. He repeated that process in each town. It was only after he had become a huge company that being the #1 retailer in the U.S. made any sense. And, in truth, even if he never was, as long as he was #1 in those towns he served, that is #1.

I was reminded again how being #3 with no hope of ever being #2 or #1 is a dangerous (fatal) market position. Sidecar, one of the first car-booking services and the third biggest in the U.S., shut down on December 31. Uber and Lyft offer great service and the world doesn’t need a third provider.

What is your plan to become #1 or #2 in your market so you don’t suffer the fate of Sidecar? There is no timeframe other than to achieve that position before the money runs out.

Happy New Year


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