The empty slice
Who is your top competitor? Are you sure?
A true story...
The folks at a growing logistics warehouse added a secure truck staging lot. They razed the ground, hired a guard, handed him a clipboard and placed a cone in the middle of the muddy entry as a checkpoint.
At that moment, the lot became part of someone's Total Available Market in the vehicular access control industry. It's an industry I happen to know something about, and I happen to know the typical conversation at a manufacturer of access control gates would revolve around the question, "Whose gate are they going to buy?"
Their market pie consists exclusively of Us + Our Competitors. But it's missing pieces.
Because there are alternatives - disruptive alternatives, often - to that traditional solution. It might be a handheld device with software, or a very different kind of hardware that serves the same purpose. The savvier players recognize this, and their pie is more accurate.
But one year later that same guard, with that same clipboard, is still crossing puddles to move the cone to allow trucks through.
The traditional vendors and all the alternatives (not to mention the blacktop contractors jostling each other for a chance to pave over the mud) were outwitted again by that shrewdest of competitors: Do Nothing.
Your perception of the market affects everything... from product positioning to accounts receivable.
So how accurate is your pie?