Your competitive advantage is know, understanding and ‘DOING’ change better than anyone else – Diane Gray
Building your competitive advantage is a no brainer for any business, otherwise they don’t survive.
Yet the struggle to maintain it is a hard one. All too often people focus on the competition so much that they take their eye off the ball and neglect their own businesses.
Or they aim to change to copy the competition without thoroughly understanding the impact on the business.
Making the necessary changes for what YOUR business needs is the tough part!
Unfortunately, when this goes wrong, it can lead to a huge amount of hurt, stress, wasted time, confusion and then clients end up with the competition anyway … the very thing you wanted to avoid.
Now I’m not saying that what your competitors are doing or not doing isn’t important because it is. But the attention you pay to the competition needs to be done wisely so you are keeping ahead of the Joneses, not just keeping up with them!
It’s the only way to build and maintain your competitive advantage. And learn how to be an expert in managing change as well.
So, how do you know if you have fallen into the ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ mindset?
The most obvious is when your workplace culture, in-house systems become neglected. Some examples of how this tends to show up are:
- Lost sight of the purpose of the business, no effective strategy
- Lack of quality in customer service
- Hiring the wrong people and/or keeping the wrong people
- Poor communication between people and teams
- Making reactive decisions to purchases
- Little or no training for people
- Very little innovation
- Dread change
And all because the people making decisions have become completely reactive to their competitors’ moves.
For example, if any or all of the above means you fall into the category of businesses where 75% of leads don’t get followed up, then the question needs to be asked:
How many clients (and how much money) are you potentially losing to a competitor?
So, if you are not doing this already, start reviewing what is it that is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
Because a big killer to competitive advantage is that all too often people undervalue their strengths and uniqueness, the gifts they bring to their clients, underappreciating the difference it makes to others with their products and/or services … all because the frustrations and pressures of ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ takes over.
And whenever this happens, the focus moves away too much from what you are great at and how you can support what you are great at.
What is your competitive advantage?
Here are four considerations to help you. And you can also check out the COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE questionnaire.
- Your client/customers’ needs and wants
Consider your products/service from the consumer perspective and how their problems are solved differently by you.
- Your uniqueness
Consider what is it that makes you and your products and/or services different to your competition.
- Your competitors
Consider what your competitors are doing and what their uniqueness is. Now you can make comparisons upon which to better meet your clients’ needs and wants to then go ahead and build the model that best supports this.
- Your business model and in-house support
Consider the options available to you to deliver your products and services to your clients/customers and the business model that best represents these options, paying attention to the in-house supports you need in your business to ensure the above three points bring your clients/customers an experience that is over and above their expectations.
Now that you have a clearer picture of what your competitive advantage is through your USP, it’s time to develop a strategy to become the change expert your workplace culture, in-house support systems and people need to keep your business ahead of the Joneses.
You won’t find a CEO who doesn’t talk about a ‘powerful culture’ as a source of competitive advantage. At the same time, you’d be hard-pressed to find a CEO who has much of a clue about the strength of that culture. – Marcus Buckingham