He had a particularly cut-throat saying about business: “When the competition is drowning, stick a hose in their mouths.”
While that sounds brutal, Kroc understood that in a recession competitors leave themselves vulnerable. He knew that the best time to eliminate your competition is when they’re at their weakest–during an economic downturn.
I once saw a Nike t-shirt that said, “Somewhere, right now, someone is practicing. When they meet you head to head in competition, they’ll beat you.”
As a CEO coach, I see that this seizing on vulnerability is where business is most like sports. Your competition is naturally your opponent, and when you come to the game unprepared for the challenge, someone will be waiting for you to choke, and when you do, they’ll happily leave you on the sidelines while they advance toward their goal.
Hiring competitors’ salespeople, proactively targeting your competitors’ clients and even re-pricing your products or services to attract those clients will help you and hurt your competitor. Worry more about yourself, but when the competition is drowning, stick a hose in their mouth. This is one area I mentor CEOs on when I’m coaching them.
‘Survival of the fittest’ isn’t just for the Serengeti – it is alive and well in your industry too. Who’ll win?