Dave Trott is one of the most brilliant thinkers of our time you’ve probably never heard of.
But that’s about to change.
Because I’m about to share with you a powerful anecdote that captures the essence of what it means to think laterally in business.
Dave tells the story this way:
Two explorers are walking through the jungle when suddenly, they hear a tiger roar in the distance. A flock of birds burst from the canopy and fly toward the explorers, signalling the tiger is on the move.
One of the explorers yells “Tiger!” and begins to panic.
The other takes a knee and begins to tie his shoes.
“What are you doing?” the other replies. “You can’t outrun a tiger!”
“I know”, he replies, coming back to his feet.
“I just have to outrun you.”
Here’s why that anecdote is so goddamn powerful.
When it comes to marketing your business, most biz owners turn a blind eye to the fact that they’re playing a zero-sum game.
And while it’s inconvenient to acknowledge it, the reality is that for your business to gain a customer, someone else has to lose one (or at the very least, lose out on the opportunity to gain one).
Now that’s not vindictive, it’s just the truth.
Not an ounce of me enjoys saying that… but I didn’t write the rules.
Because just like the story of the two explorers, it’s foolish to think that you can outrun the tiger. In the case of the explorers, someone was going to lose.
Think of it this way.
If you own a physiotherapy clinic, the chances are a new initial consult who’s booked in to see you has previously seen another physio.
If they end up working with you, then you’ve taken that tiny slice of the pie off someone else’s plate and put it on your own. You’ve taken market share from a competitor.
The same goes for online coaching. For you to gain a client, someone else has to lose one. Last time I check few people have multiple online coaches writing programs for them at the same time.
You could insert any health service and essentially get the same result.
When’s the last time you got a haircut from Joe, only to immediately go to Bob and get another haircut?
Or the last time you got your teeth cleaned by Sara, only to book another appointment immediately after with Jane down the road?
This is what David Trott calls predatory thinking.
You need to understand that in order to play the game and survive, the goal of business is to not lose.
And by continuing to not lose, you’ll develop a powerful skillset over time that allows you to look at a problem — like a tiger closing in on you — and figure out a simple solution that keeps you alive.
These solutions, usually lateral in nature, help you solve downstream problems by moving upstream closer to the source.
I teach about this type of thinking in the Alley-Oop, my monthly newsletter that makes gym and clinic owners look good.
If you want to win, you can subscribe at the link below.
Or, you can try and outrun the tiger. It’s really up to you.
– Karl Goodman