Because being second in the game can lead to greater success in business

The views expressed by the contributing Entrepreneurs are their own.

Many people assume that being the first to enter a market is a critical factor for success. But being a second player in a market, as treacherous as it sounds, can offer unique opportunities for growth and success.

Consider companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon. They were not the first players in their respective markets, but they leveraged their position as second movers to create unique value propositions, differentiate themselves, and ultimately become industry leaders.

Google wasn’t the first search engine, but it created a user-friendly and efficient search experience that changed the game. Amazon wasn’t the first online retailer, but it created a seamless and convenient shopping experience that transformed the industry.

Leverage the first player experience to succeed in the game

The first player cannot always hide what he has done from almost anyone. You know their successes and failures, which means you can use them to your advantage.

You can borrow from what worked for them to replicate their success. By looking at why certain things worked for your predecessor, you’ll be able to apply those lessons to your own version of the game — especially if they were playing on a similar platform or with similar resources that you have access to now.

If something didn’t work out for them, then maybe it wasn’t such a great idea after all! Learning how not to do something gives us valuable insight into what actually works when it comes time for us (or someone else) to try again later down the line with another iteration or spinoff project using slightly different rules or parameters than before.

Related: Competitive Rivals Can Make You More Successful

The second players can innovate beyond the first

Second players have a leg up because they can learn from the mistakes of first players. They can also innovate beyond them.

You see, when you’re a first player, there are certain things you just don’t know how to do yet. You may not know exactly what your customer wants or how to best deliver it. That’s why second players often come in and find ways to improve your work — they know what works and what doesn’t and are willing to experiment with new ideas, while also having a deeper understanding of what makes customers tick from you. Will you ever have it at this point in time (since you’re still figuring things out).

Sometimes you don’t have to win, you just have to beat the first person to succeed

Victory is overrated. You don’t always have to win first.

In business and in life, it’s important to remember that being second means you can learn from your competition’s mistakes and innovate beyond them. Here are some examples of successful businesses that have done just that:

  • Apple was not the first computer company. It was second behind IBM, but learned from its competitor’s mistakes and came up with innovations such as the mouse and the graphical user interface (GUI).

  • The Michael Jordan brand was built on Nike’s failures – they missed out on signing him twice because they didn’t think he would be good enough for their company’s image at the time, but MJ eventually signed with Adidas (who later sold him back to Win).

In conclusion, being second can be an advantage in many ways. It allows you to learn from the mistakes of others, but it also gives you time to discover your own innovations that could make your product even better than it was before. So if someone asked me who was the first man to “walk on the moon”, I would tell them it wasn’t Neil Armstrong but Buzz Aldrin.

Related: What Apple and Netflix Got Right About Being Second Mobile

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