“I’ll smoke him,” is what I said to a friend after my friend told me that they had been talking to So-and-So, who told them that So-and-So was going to up his game in the website design space in a for-real way, rather than a side-gig way. I have occupied the website design space for more than fifteen years of my small business career, and I welcome anyone into that space, as it’s a fast and bumpy ride that needs really good management. Furthermore, there are a lot of fish in the sea, and website design shops with different specialties to accommodate different types and needs of clients.
But here’s the catch of this story. As So-and-So was telling my friend this information, he did so with an apology in his voice. Like: “Tell Katie I’m sorry, but I’m going to be doing websites in the neighborhood.” But because I understand my small business space, and my customer, I feel no fear of this competition. Normally I’d shrug this off, like: “Nice of him to show consideration, but he needn’t!”
But instead I said: “He needn’t be concerned! I’ll smoke him.”
I’m not normally that bold. But it felt good. I wanted to bottle it and use it again.
The core of this reaction happened because this newbie website designer had just crossed the Girlfriend Code Zone by doing something silly to one of my friends, so I was not in a sympathetic place with him. That feeling of utter confidence and clarity of his entering my competitive space was one I wanted to use again for a fight that really mattered.
The “Smoke ‘em” Mentality
The “Smoke ‘em” mentality gets us through a lot of scary things we need to succeed in. Could be a public policy shift. A public opinion shift. A real threat from a competitive business. Or even a threat from a client, or former client. A few years ago, I had a one-time advertising client tell me that if I wrote an article that showed him in a bad light, “You’ll lose me as an advertiser, m’dear.” Well, he wasn’t advertising at the time, so it was an empty threat, but veiled nonetheless. It left me speechless. Not that I cared for losing the business, but that I was spoken to so boldly.
There are other examples that the “I’ll Smoke Him Mentality” could apply to, in order to help someone handle a situation differently, with more effect. And it doesn’t only happen with men. Female business friends in my space who would be considered competition also make moves that are direct hits. You know my feelings now on being polite and apologizing. I’m over it.
The Huge Benefit Of Competition Moving In
There is a huge positive to competition moving in: whatever competition lights the fire under you, and whatever it is that you decide to do with that fire, is probably something you should have been doing anyway. You just had no motivation to do it. Or, you were so hypnotized by your day-to-day that the idea never occurred to you.
Let’s look at marketing strategies, for example. There are loads of different social media photos and videos you could be doing. Or much sharper pitches to the media that could land you a really cool feature. Or a blogging strategy you could start on your website in order to attract searches from Google. Sometimes this competition gives you clarity that was a long time coming.
Now you see how the the “Smoke ‘em” mentality isn’t a malicious one. It is just a necessary one sometimes. You can be friends with someone, drink wine with them, enjoy their talents or sense of humor. But when you disagree on something, or a big shift needs to happen, you can summon your inner “Smoke ‘em” mentality to “get ‘er done.” Another one of my favorite phrases.