Why Being Second in the Game Can Lead to Greater Business Success

The opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Many people assume that being the first to enter a market is a crucial success factor. But being a second player in a market, as sneaky as it sounds, can offer unique opportunities for growth and success.

Think of companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon. They were not the first players in their respective markets, but they leveraged their position as second movers to create unique value propositions, differentiate themselves and eventually become industry leaders.

Google wasn’t the first search engine, but it created a user-friendly and efficient search experience that changed the game. Amazon wasn’t the first online retailer, but it created a seamless and convenient shopping experience that transformed the industry.

Leverage the first player experience to succeed in the game

The first player cannot always hide what he has done from almost everyone. You know your successes and failures, which means you can use them to your advantage.

You can borrow what worked for them to replicate their success. As you examine why some things worked for your predecessor, you’ll be able to apply those lessons to your own version of the game — especially if they were playing on a similar platform or with similar features that you now have access to.

If something didn’t quite work out for them, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all! Learning how not to do something gives us valuable information about what actually works when it comes time for us (or someone else) to try again later with another iteration or child project using slightly different rules or parameters than before.

Related: Competitive rivals can make you more successful

The second players can innovate beyond the first

The second players have an advantage because they can learn from the mistakes of the first players. They can also innovate beyond them.

You see, when you’re the first player, there are certain things you still don’t know how to do. You may not know exactly what your customer wants or how to best deliver it. That’s why second players often jump in and find ways to improve their work – they know what works and what doesn’t and are willing to try new ideas while also having a deeper understanding of what motivates customers. than you. never will at this point (since you’re still figuring things out).

Sometimes you don’t need to win, just beat the first person to succeed.

Winning is overrated. You don’t always have to win first.

In business and in life, it’s important to remember that being second means you can learn from your competitors’ mistakes and innovate beyond them. Here are some examples of successful companies that have done just that:

  • Apple wasn’t the first computer company; it was second behind IBM, but it learned from its competitor’s mistakes and introduced innovations such as the mouse and the graphical user interface (GUI).

  • The Michael Jordan brand was built on Nike’s failures – they lost out on signing him twice because they didn’t believe he would be good enough for the company’s image at the time, but MJ ended up signing with Adidas (who later sold him back to Nike).

In conclusion, being second can be an advantage in many ways. It lets you learn from the mistakes of others, but it also gives you time to come up with your own innovations that can make your product even better than it was before it. So if someone were to ask me who was the first person to “walk on the moon”, I would say it wasn’t Neil Armstrong, but Buzz Aldrin.

Related: What Apple and Netflix got right about being secondary

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