trailing

Basketball teams who are trailing by halftime with one point are more likely to win than teams who are leading with one point.

Never underestimate a hungry underdog.

on a platter

Usually, my reasoning behind sharing unique insights is as follows.

Easy to copy business models don’t allow for the business owners to share all their know-how. Reason why? With that know-how, everybody can replicate that business model in a matter of days.

On the other hand, a business model that is hard to copy allows the business owners to share their unique insights. Years of development, an expensive production process, or validation trials could make the business model hard to replicate. From that point of view, owners could share their know-how, even evangelize through thought-leadership.

The caveat is as follows. If the party on the other end of the table has virtually unlimited funds and resources, sharing unique insights is always a risk. Regardless of the complexity of the business model and its ease to copy.

impress yourself

Trying to impress someone has very little to do with you. It has almost everything to do with the actual person you’re trying to impress. Maybe the person is easy to impress, or quite the opposite? Perhaps they’re having a bad day? Chasing values that you have no control over at all is generally not the best idea.

Like Ernest Hemingway once said: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

If you must impress someone, impress yourself.

business grand prix — sportsmanship

You win some. You lose some. Ideally, both are done with dignity. Nobody likes a sour loser.

Finishing second or lower is sometimes hard to understand, especially after a prolonged super natural performance. Even with the maximum amount of planning and preparation, many things can happen. Maybe a racer performed better, but their car is slower than their competitors.

In races, as in enterprises, so many things have to go right. A plethora of different aspects to master, many of them which are hard to control.

In a grand prix, when a racer falls behind, the only option they have is to play catch-up. Too much focus on the car in front almost certainly results in copying their mistakes. When the racer, who is under attack, feels pressure, they might miss their braking point only by a split second, causing them to miss the turn. At all times, a racer must drive their own race.

To compare is to despair. Focusing on why a competitor appears to be “luckier” has no value. Focus on improving your business, with dignity.


This is the ninth and final part in the business grand prix series.

race against everything

Running out of time. Meeting deadlines. Getting stuff done. All at once. It’s like a race sometimes.

Without knowing who your competitors are exactly, you have no option but to try as hard as you absolutely can. Are you lapping the last racer? Are you overtaking the leader? Going all out all the time isn’t the most sustainable strategy.

Opponents must be identified first. Without knowing their characteristics, you’re racing against yourself.

goliath and goliath

Assuming big companies only work with other big companies, the process of growing a small company (into a big one) is laborious. To land a big company as a customer of your (currently) small company is challenging. How to grow a company when you’re David and Goliaths in your industry only work with other Goliaths?

What if the big incumbent’s solution leaves no stone unturned and genuinely is incredible? What if Goliath can service the entire market and excels at doing so? Finally, what if part of their proposition is an incubator where Goliath looks for small fish, allowing them to hitchhike and help them grow into Goliath themselves. Even if they don’t turn out to be a Goliath in the end, as long as they get it right now and then, they’re still winning.

Stuck in a seemingly impenetrable market. There is bound to be something in which your (currently) small company can outperform Goliath. Perhaps a niche? Maybe a level of personalized service? Keep looking for that gap until you find it.

catch-up struggle

When I was a kid, we used to ride our bicycles everywhere. If one rider was to leave earlier, the infamous: “go ahead, I’ll catch up” was doomed to be a broken promise. Leaving only a mere five minutes later on a one hour trip would almost always result in meeting one another at the destination instead of en route.

In motorsports, overtaking is usually a risky maneuver. Imagine getting caught in Michael Schumacher’s slipstream at the first long straight after start/finish on Spa Francorchamps. Adrenaline rushing through your body. At 350 km/h, braking a split second later could mean the difference between becoming world champion or getting gravely injured.

Catching up is, generally speaking, difficult. What’s true of traveling and sports is also true of entrepreneurship.

Catching up to a competitor is equally challenging. Ernest Hemingway once said: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

Focus on you. Focus on the added value your company creates. Playing catch-up is a challenging game to win.

hostile compassion

Sometimes, the only person who really gets you is your enemy.

“Enemy” is a strong word. One that I like to avoid. However, in business, you most likely will encounter a rival or two, and even fellows competing for the same spot, causing you to somehow unite in adversity.

In sports or (performance) arts — as in entrepreneurial careers — so many sacrifices are being made to achieve success. Your opponent understands your struggle because they made the same sacrifices. Perhaps that’s why there is often a fine line between love and hate.

Keep expanding your network daily for personal and professional growth. Likemindedness can be found in unexpected places.