The early bird gets the worm, or in this case, the elliptical machine

Unfortunately today, I hit snooze and wound up in bed a full thirty minutes after I usually do. By the time I got it together and headed for my usual Friday session on the only elliptical machine in the tiny gym here, well, there was another guy on it. Drat. So I used the treadmill. However, during my more brief workout, I couldn’t help but give myself a mental kick. There’s only one machine. Sure, most days I only see a single person in the gym for a few minutes, and they always show up after me. Not today.

I don’t need to tell you about first mover’s advantage, but picture this

Resources are always scarce. Sometimes there are clear substitutes, other times, what seems like a substitute is really not the same. A treadmill impacts my body a lot more than the elliptical machine. After a friend shared that you could get stress fractures from those, well, I take care to only use it once a week. Apple understood resource scarcity when they bought up all the aluminum contracts years ago. Both ensuring low prices and a steady supply, the competition decided to copy them a while later. Guess what? The only available aluminum was so expensive, most everybody had to ditch their plans or erode their margins to a point where it was an untenable option.

Sometimes, it’s not about being first, though that can help. The macro message of first mover’s advantage is to understand the resourcing picture and address the short term to ensure business stability. Then, competitively, push the boundaries outside the norm, so that anybody who wants to compete, will have to do so in a strange or impractical way. Like me, running on the treadmill instead of the elliptical.

The more advantages you create for your business, your team and your life, the better off you are. These little things add up to a huge win. Dig the details, because without them, there is no big picture.