From One-Hit-Wonder to Hit-Making-Machine

You’ve got a better idea? Great. How long before someone copies it? Or leapfrogs it? Or confuses the market into thinking that they can do what you can do? Better isn’t forever.

Consider a company I used to work for: FedEx. FedEx was founded in 1973 with a better idea – overnight delivery. Yet realizing that overnight delivery would soon be copied, they identified the next level of value: absolutely, positively overnight. In other words, while competitors might claim to deliver overnight, only FedEx could reliably deliver.

Still, it was inevitable that others would figure things out and close the reliability gap. So FedEx extended the value equation to real-time tracking. They knew that customers would value the peace-of-mind that comes from knowing the location of their package at any time.

And so it continued with additional value elements like customs clearance, deferred service and logistics. By sequencing together new sources of value, FedEx survived start-up, kept ahead of their competitors and became the fastest company at the time to reach $1B in annual revenues.

FedEx is more than overnight delivery. Google is more than search. Amazon is more than online retail. Being a one-hit-wonder might get you the spotlight … today. But if you want to grow, really grow, become a hit-making-machine.

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