Being a niche player in a market often causes these smaller organizations to be timid about their market position. The assumption is that the powerful industry leader has deep enough pockets to crush you if they really wanted to. This may be true. However, not always.
For those looking to topple a significant competitor, there are the usual concerns… the cost of entering or scaling up within a market, brand equity, creating a real competitive advantage, cost of switching etc… however one truly significant factor that many organizations have used to their advantage is to pay attention to how hungry the #1 organization is.
The tendency when you’re #1, is to forget that there is still more to do. You get to #1 by being bold and setting a goal that is nothing short of cocky. Once you achieve that, many organizations forget to set another goal just as cocky. This kind of success breeds complacency. Certainly, many industry leaders are in that position because they aren’t complacent. They’re winning after all, but for how long?
If a Goliath organization has lulled themselves into merely maintaining shareholder value with their current market share, they are vulnerable. Vision only releases energy when you haven’t yet accomplished it. This dissonance literally causes those who are engaged to release incredible energy. When Ford first had the vision to democratize the automobile in 1907, to make the auto something every man could enjoy with his family and remove horses from the roads, their teams often worked until 10 or 11 at night… because they were believers. After they took the #1 position, they forgot to set another goal as big as the first. This opened up room for GM to re-take #1, and that’s exactly what happened. History is full of these examples.
Who will win tomorrow isn’t a product of incremental improvements in sales, it’s a matter of vision.