A lesson in market domination from Bitcoin

$3,923.00 is the anticipated amount that cryptocurrency is trading for as of this morning in the US. Also known as BitCcoin, its quickly on the rise to peak at over $4000.00. You might be asking yourself how did this happen when just under a week ago China announced plans to stop trading on all cryptocurrency?

Traditionally when major countries speak, everyone listens. And, in this case everyone listened and a few didn't allow that to sway their decisions.

The example of what is happening to cryptocurrency can happen to any business. Normally, when a new regulation is placed on a industry many companies buckle under the pressure of trying to keep up. Others close their doors, some even merge with neighboring rivals to stay afloat. Then there are those that had planned for the impact and come out of the change looking rather unscathed & even unbothered by any of it.

 Photo credit: Bloomberg

Photo credit: Bloomberg

"A company can create a new sector within their industry and dominate it."

That is what Bitcoin has done.

Bitcoin is a payment network 'a new kind of money' as they describe themselves on bitcoin.org. Since the beginning of time the only type of money anyone had available to them was what issued from government institutions. Even companies like PayPal, Stripe or Western Union are only ways to process payments of traditional money. 

When Bitcoin came onto the scene in late 2008 it was around the time of the Wall Street protestor movement. A movement that was birthed on the heels of the mortgage crisis. (If you're still a little hazy on what exactly happened between 2007 -2009 a must watch move is The Big Short to gather a different perspective). The goal of Bitcoin was to have a community of people that could trade this new type of money for services among themselves without banking fees. One of the attractions was that Bitcoin was without the regulations that seemed to constrain, others would say helped, the banks that needed a bailout from the US government.At the core of Bitcoins security is a ledger that records all transactions of anonymous users and the ledger cannot be altered or deleted.

So how does Bitcoin bounce back in market value when last week it crashed and tumbled to the worst low since early 2015?

Do they have a secret strategy that other corporations, that have not been as lucky to re-position themselves after such a hard blow do not have?

What is available to Bitcoin is available to all companies.There are three types of companies that can learn from the Bitcoin bounce back, those are:

  1. Staying in the dark
  2. Aware & Unprepared
  3. The head of the class

# 1-Staying in the Dark

  Staying in the Dark

Our friends in the early days of Silicon Valley are a example of staying in the dark.

Even though many tech companies since then have went on to have major success. During the early days many of the 'planning to be known as a tech giant' company were hard to recognize from their counterparts.

Is this wrong? Maybe, not. Does this happen? Yes, a lot. How does this happen? I like to call it 'Blinds Down'. It starts when a company is working heads downed solely focused on the goal they've set that there isn't anyone looking around to see if the industry, regulations or the customer need has changed.

Now, this doesn't mean to watch what every one else is doing and then change your plans to match theirs as a strategy to get ahead. That's not being creative or authentic. What this means is that in order to reinforce your goals and to know the action you're taking to bring that product or service into the market will be successful, you have to know what is going on around you.

When the founders of Bitcoin began in 2008 they knew a few things about the industry:

  1. What people are unhappy with
  2. The current flaws in the traditional system
  3. An idea of how to fix it

An idea. It started with an idea because they knew what was happening in the industry. This knowledge came about by not just one person brainstorming on ideas but a collective group of people.

So here is a question to assess if your company is working in the dark.

  • Do your products and services support your customers of today or yesterday?

The need of a customer is always evolving. In a previous blog post I wrote about staying relevant in the industry and more important to your customers.

In that article I shared tips on how to avoid the death of your company by being aware & staying relevant. The ultimate test of this is to not just know your customer on a surface level but to know what they need today & what they will need tomorrow. Most tech companies in the beginning are working on one idea, that most likely will solve a major problem or provide more ease of life for their customers.

But, along the way of developing that product many circumstances can impact the speed in which it comes to market.

  1. Lack of cash flow
  2. Regulations
  3. Supplier delays
  4. Employee turnover (including hostile recruiting from other companies)
  5. Disagreements in the direction and vision of the company by the founding members

All of this takes away from the time needed to gain customers in order to begin the process of validating the concept. Yes, even when you have customers that doesn't mean success. Depending on the policies of your company customers can return it for refund or company credit. But, that doesn't limit the customer to not leaving negative reviews which can still impact revenue. Increase returns, refunds and non renewals of contracts are a key indicator that something within what you are offering isn't answer the core problem your customer is having.

 

# 2-Aware & Unprepared

Imagine that you are in a boxing ring. You are wearing all of the boxing attire. A opponent steps into the ring, you smile and then you black out.

When you awake, lying face up on the mat, you ask one question. What happened?

Others are puzzled at the question, some even laugh others might roll their eyes and walk away leaving you to get up by yourself.

Why don't they help you? The answer is simple.

'Don't step into the ring if you're not ready to throw a punch'

Now, this story might have seemed unnecessary, even comical, but day after day companies are doing just this. They arm themselves with everything that is needed to operate a business in the traditional sense. But, they lack one of the key essentials that is at the core of all entrepreneurs, because trust me every company started with a entrepreneur wild enough to see their vision through.

What's the key essential? When something is coming to take what you have built be ready to fight.

This doesn't mean that you throw the first punch and sometimes you might not have to swing at all. But to say that you are aware change can happen, customers can go elsewhere or new regulations are inevitable and not have a plan for it is just like getting into the ring to be surprised when you get knocked out.

How do you be aware and prepared? It's simple and starts with first identifying why if your company is prepared for a assault you didn't respond? Here are a few reasons why this happened:

  1. Employees do not feel empowered to make decisions to help the customers. We see this very frequently in the banking industry. New regulations to safeguard consumers against those that did take advantage of customers instills fear into employees of other companies that are doing the right thing.
  2. A disconnected leadership team. What does this look like? When you begin managing your team from a email inbox instead of out in the field or on the floor with them. Keeping your finger on the pulse of your business isn't just knowing what the customer wants but it is also know how happy or dissatisfied your team is.
 

#3- Deans List

pexels-photo-541526.jpeg

Companies in this category should feel very proud about the work they've done internally to establish well documented processes, procedures and training for their employees to handle industry change that could have negatively impacted them.

However, don't celebrate just yet. Change is constant but not always present.

Just as you have to know if you're staying in step with the customer of today vs. yesterday. The same is true for changes within your industry not only from a regulatory perspective but with a overall change of what's needed but can be improved upon.

The best way to stand out in the market is not by you proclaiming this yourself but by other saying it for you.

Let's take Apple for example.

Apple is known for creating innovative high end products that consumers don't see as a nice to have but as a must have. The secrecy about new products from Apple is at a level most companies could only imagine. Yes, there are times that some leaks appear on the internet but for the most part when the unveiling of a new product happens the world is shocked, stunned in awe and ready to pull out their credit cards.

Are your customers ready with credit cards in hand to purchase more of what you have to offer?

Who would have ever thought a tech company would have to fight a government agency over the privacy rights of their customers. Apple did this & won. How? Because they already met the regulations for their industry but because the product is bar none the customer bases grows significantly. Apple products then create a norm within our lives. When a new norm appears and stays consistent new regulations are along for the ride. Just like Bitcoin faced challenging regulations from New York officials years after the product was finding massive success the same threat knocked at the door of Apple.  So in the eyes of the government they assume they can dictate to companies, like Apple & others that are wildly popular with consumers, what they will and will not do without any regulations to support their claims.

That is an example of being prepared, standing out in the industry & creating a new discussion about the rights of both a consumer and company when it comes to privacy. Apple did all of this not by releasing a case study but by standing firm in their company vision and winning the case so that others told their story for them.


Bitcoin is doing the same things.

They are not working in the dark with the blinds down.

They are very aware of what is happening in the industry and are prepared to respond.

And, even though they made the deans list & other people are telling their story they're not resting on pass momentum.

It began with an idea in 2008. Next they took action to build a product that met the need of a consumer and business alike. Lastly, the steady trade value of the product is telling their story.

What does this mean for you? More attention in the market place can attract new customers & make existing customers even more loyal. Focus on knowing the needs of your customers inside & out. If a customer is unhappy it shouldn't come as a shock. You should know what is working well within the organization and what areas need improvement.

It's know longer when the industry speaks everyone listens. Its now customers who will dictate the acceptance of regulations and they'll continue to be faithful to the companies who have rode out the storm, came out on top & know what they need before they even know it.

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