One of the things that seems to unite most Americans, if not folks everywhere, is our love for an underdog. Show me someone who has no chance going up against a bigger, meaner, wealthier, or more vicious adversary, and I am rooting like crazy for the “little guy.” Who knows that more than LeBron James? In the span of 8 months, he has gone from the loved, admired and franchise face of the Cleveland Cavaliers, to a member of the “Big Three” in Miami, with better nightlife, better teammates, more money, and allegedly, a genuine chance to win his first NBA championship. And guess what? Almost everyone is rooting against him and/or the Miami Heat.
We in the business world are not immune to this either, but we are often equally naive about it. We start businesses, scrap for every client, contract or order, treat every customer like they were our first and last, and work our butts off to deliver the best services and products to grab just a sliver of the market from “the big guys.” And some of the business we win comes from that very market rooting for an underdog. And we start to succeed.
First, we get noticed. “Hey, who ARE those guys??” Then, we get confident. “We can beat anyone.” And if we’re not careful, we get arrogant. “We’re the best.” And suddenly, no one is rooting for us anymore.
It’s good to want to be the best. Just make sure your fans are telling you that, and not the other way around…