Abundance or Scarcity?

2011 August 11
by mark

What’s your view of the world: do you look at your competition and believe if they sell something, you won’t? Or do you look at your competition and believe that if everyone does a great job the collective market can grow and everyone can do well, with the possibility that you can do a little bit better than everyone else?

We are trained from birth to believe in scarcity. If my brother grabbed a toy from the box, then I couldn’t play with it. If my sister took the last popsicle, I didn’t get one. If the teacher graded on a curve, we were told that there would be only a few A’s and B’s even if everyone studied hard.

What wasn’t clear to us when we were children was that if our sibling played with one of the toys, there still was a big pile of them in the box that we could play with. If our sister took the last popsicle, our parents would probably take mercy on us and make sure that there were enough next time. And the teacher most likely skewed the “curve” if many people did well.

In small business, I think there actually are few situations where true market scarcity exists. The limitation is what, where, how, and for whom we do what we’re doing. There’s nearly always a new product or service that we can bring to market, or a competitive advantage that we can exploit, or a new market segment or geography we can tap into. And in many situations if a group of companies do well, it naturally attracts a larger client base. Consider the tourism that was created by California wineries, or the small towns known for many antique stores. One winery or one antique store by itself might be OK, but if you’re one of 10 of them, all will fare far better- especially if they’re close to yours.

Scarcity exists in our minds. Abundance and opportunity exist in the real world.

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