Sleep is Making Your Competition Succeed



Two weeks ago, I finished from church early and decided to go shopping. This was around 10 am, because I had attended the first service. I needed to squeeze in my shopping quickly in view of the fact that time had become very unfriendly and I am beginning to find out that my time is now my most expensive commodity these days.

When my husband and I got to Shoprite because we were a bit apprehensive that it was rather early, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that the store had been open since 9 am and was bustling with shoppers. I found this quite refreshing for Nigerians on a Sunday morning. While we were shopping, power went out as we were about to pay for our goods, we paid and made our way to the exit. When we got to the exit, which is also the entrance, we saw a huge crowd outside waiting to enter. We were astounded at the number because, we did not realise that shoppers had been stopped from entering in view of the light that had gone out.

We then needed to go to Spar, due to the fact that I always split my shopping between both hypermarkets because of certain items I prefer from each store. We got to Spar and found out that it had not opened and saw a few people waiting outside. We also discovered that they open at 11 am, which is a good two hours after Shoprite and the people waiting to enter could not be compared with the people waiting outside Shoprite when the light was out not to mention the people already shopping inside.

My husband remarked at the brisk business Shoprite would have made in those two hours window before Spar opened. The example above is exactly what happens when we allow ourselves to sleep in the face of competition.
I also remember going to Ghana a few years ago. As we all know most flights to Accra leave very early. When we arrived at Ghana at 7:30am because you gain an hour, I was very hungry and wanted to go to a fast food restaurant to pick up some snacks and was told they did not open until 12 noon. I was flabbergasted! In Nigeria, most of them would have made half their day’s earning by that time, while our Ghanaian brothers were still sleeping.

It is important to know that while you are sleeping the competition is not waiting for you. Brisk business is being done at your detriment and potential customers will switch or not patronise you because you were not available.
Let’s take some thoughts from Anthony Iannarino on his piece “While you were sleeping: Thoughts on Competition and Complacency. Anthony said:

• While you were sleeping, your fiercest competitor stayed up late into the evening reading a book that is going to help them bring their A-game up a level. In fact, two levels.

• While you were sleeping, your competition was strategising and looking for ways to copy you and make what you currently offer better and differentiating themselves in the market.

• While you were sleeping, the strategies you crafted and waited too long to implement is being implemented in a more innovative way by your competition.

• While you were sleeping, your fiercest competitor was already out of bed and at the gym working out, knowing that they need to be at their best both mentally and physically to win. Today, they didn’t hit the snooze button.

• While you were sleeping, your fiercest competitor is building their list of dream clients to call as soon as they walk into their office. The list includes many of your existing clients.

• While you were sleeping, your fiercest competitor was nurturing their relationships with their dream clients. These dream clients are your existing clients. They are networking and building and giving your clients special offers to lure them away from you.

• While you were sleeping, your existing client is dealing with a problem that desperately needs your attention.

• While you were sleeping your dream client became dissatisfied and is now open to considering a change.

• While you were sleeping, your fiercest competitor was diagnosing the dissatisfaction that exists in levels below the C-suites of their dream client, working with people who don’t have the ultimate authority but who have great influence and, perhaps, the real authority. This is the dissatisfaction your existing client is experiencing now, after the train has come off the tracks.

• While you were sleeping, your fiercest competitor was making the shift from vendor to consultative seller, learning to frame their deal in terms of improved profits and reduced overall costs instead of price.

• While you were sleeping, your fiercest competitor was presenting your existing clients with the red pill. One of them is stretching out her hand to take it.

• While you were sleeping, talent you have nurtured and trained is being recruited and employed. Leaving you with no other option but to go back to the pool of half-baked products in the labour market that you would have to work hard to bring to the level of those you lost.

• While you were sleeping, your fiercest competitor just helped your existing client answer the question “why should I buy from you?”

• While you were sleeping, your fiercest competitor was asking for and obtaining commitments.

• While you were sleeping, your fiercest competitor stopped discounting.

• While you were sleeping, your fiercest competitor stopped doing what was expected of them.

• Sleep well, and may your rest be peaceful.


To grow out of your slumber, you need to answer the following questions:

• What changes need your attention and are occurring right now?

• Are you complacent, sleeping when you should be taking action?

• Are you the fiercest competitor that some other business should be concerned with right now?

• If you are, how can you ensure you remain at the top of the back and the top of your game?
While you are sleeping, there are changes occurring that will impact your future and your success as a business owner and an individual. Can you afford to sleep? My answer is a BIG No. You need to be vigilant and if you have to sleep at all you must ensure that you sleep with one eye open.