Get and Stay Ahead of the Competition With These 3 Tools

If Navy SEALs training teaches you anything, it's that you need every advantage you can get to be elite.

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By Jeff Boss

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There is no way to put into words the level of discomfort a BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demoltion/SEAL training) student endures. In a nutshell, the seven-month selection process just sucks.

Take, for instance, the unwelcome committee of seasoned instructors, who seem to have the lungs of a hot air balloon and the running mechanics of a cheetah, yet demand that students keep up with them on conditioning runs. Add to that the unrealistic expectation that if students fail to keep up on the runs then they're put into the "goon squad," which means they do remedial exercises to get "stronger" -- or until the instructor gets tired watching.

In the private sector, there are like-minded predators that want to eat you up and swallow your business whole in hopes of eliminating the competition. Similar to a run in BUD/S, if you let up or are too slow, you fall behind, get "gooned," and risk failure.

Related: If You Want to Survive, Find Ways to Compete With Your Own Business

Keeping up with the competition isn't good enough if you want to be elite. You need to redefine the marketplace as your own, surpass the rest, spike the mic and exit the stage. To get and stay ahead of the game, try the following:

1. Get real-time feedback. While there was no shortage of feedback from SEAL instructors, offering -- and sometimes soliciting -- feedback can be a touchy subject.

Fortunately, Vancouver-based software company ResponseTek bridges the feedback gap between consumers and vendors by offering text messaging to solicit compliments or critiques related to employee performance. A consumer can submit feedback directly to front-line employees so they can immediately improve their work performance.

2. Use current metrics. Every week in BUD/S there were timed evolutions, such as four-mile timed runs, two-mile ocean swims, and problem-solving under stress (i.e. time). Instructors kept detailed logbooks on which students passed what exercises and how fast just in case the time comes in the future to review that student's performance. Having the metrics as an immediate go-to only helps support your argument if others opine differently.

Related: Just Keeping Track of Key Measures Can Double Your Profits

In the business world, Domo offers software-as-a-service solutions for your business by providing direct access to business data minus the headache of IT. You can fuse all your business intelligence, scorecards, visualizations and metrics into one dashboard so your go-to information is readily at hand.

3. Get social. In BUD/S, weekends were a time to blow off steam from the previously inconceivable week you just endured. It was also a great way to socialize with classmates in diverse settings and see who the social hand grenades were. After all, a classmate may be tough as nails, but if you'd rather count ceiling tiles than listen to that person's voice again, then that's an important piece of social data to know.

Similarly, if your brand isn't perceived as social yet, get out there. While social media changes every day with new twitter tools or analytics software, "54 percent of business-to-business buyers begin their buying process with informal research about business problems, with a whopping 78 percent of this time spent researching online," according to B2B Marketing. Another interesting fact is that web surfers spend an average of four times more time on Tumblr and Pinterest than on Twitter. So, in deciding whether to socialize your business, choosing how you socialize is just as important as whether you do.

While the full experiences of BUD/S won't completely transfer over to the startup world, the lessons certainly do. Use feedback, metrics and a method to share your insights or services with others and you'll be in the 10 percent who make it successfully -- much like BUD/S.

Related: The Best Software Tools to Run a Startup

Jeff Boss

Leadership Team Coach, Author, Speaker

Jeff Boss is the author of two books, team leadership coach and former 13-year Navy SEAL where his top awards included four Bronze Stars with valor and two Purple Hearts. Visit him online at

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