Recently I had a moment of insight while helping my daughter with her social studies homework. She was stumped by a question about the effects foreign goods had on the trade relationship between early American colonists and Native Americans.
Now before you tune out, I promise not to go into the intricacies of early American trade policies. I couldn't even if I tried, however, this question seemed pretty simple and straightforward, and I was sure my daughter could come up with a decent answer if she really thought about it. To help, I relayed a relatable scenario to her: "What if you were the only violin player in the orchestra, but one day, another violin player was added. How would you react?" She answered right away, "I'd probably start playing better." I asked why she thought that was, to which she replied, "Because everyone wants to be the best."
The point, she soon realized, was that competition generally drives progress, resulting in higher-quality results (in the case of my daughter's homework question, better products for the American colonists, but I digress...).
I bring up the point about the effects of increased competition as we kick off 2014 with our State of the Industry special issue. When reading the different reports, it's clear there's a lot to be excited about. The rental industry is poised for another year of substantial growth, fueled by increased general construction activity as well as further expansion into new markets such as oil and gas and power generation.
In today's business environment, growth is everything, for if we're not growing, we're dying. But growth always come with a few growing pains, and one area where these are often felt is in the competitive arena. Where there are new markets to be tapped, there will be new competitors, and new competitors require from us a higher level of performance to succeed. This is a good thing, because when we're challenged, there's greater incentive to do better, go farther... in short, succeed.
So in the spirit of healthy competition and growing markets, I challenge you to take advantage of a vital, dynamic and healthy marketplace and make it work for you this year. Don't be satisfied with simply surviving, look around your market for inspiration and thrive.