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Why it’s good to be different

Written by Joe Hinton on .

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Free Business Mentor UK Advice October 2019

Competitive Advantage, of course I’ve got one … I think?
Remind me again, what is it?

A competitive advantage is an offering or attribute which makes you better than the competition in your customers’ minds.

Make no mistake here, the customer bit is crucial, after all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

You might think you have a competitive advantage, but, if the customer does not think so or he thinks the competitive advantage you have is something entirely different, then you have a mismatch. Such a mismatch could prove to be expensive as you spend time, resources and money on a competitive advantage which the customer does not value.

Business Race – building and defending against your competitors

So much of what a business does can be viewed as a process of building and defending competitive advantage. You can look at it as a never-ending race, where you and the competition are striving to get to and stay at the front.

So, in that race, a competitive advantage can include any capability that has value in executing your business model. In a competitive industry, firms that lack competitive advantage are unlikely to survive in the long term, witness the very recent demise of Thomas Cook.

To answer to the question ‘Where can you find a Business Mentor near me’ here’s a great start for you

why is it good to be different

I am pretty sure I have a competitive advantage, but just in case remind me how……?

So, things to think about in developing and sustaining a Competitive Advantage are:

  1. Essentially, what’s different about you compared to the competition?
  2. What could it be? Service, product, price, quality.
  3. Does that differentiation mark you out to be the best from the rest or merely better than most of the rest.
  4. How does this link to WHO your customers are (demographics) and WHY they choose to purchase your products and services?

Earlier in this article, I said that it’s only a competitive advantage if your customer thinks it is.

  1. How do you go about determining that?
  • Start with trying to put yourself in your target market’s shoes – would you buy from your company?
  1. What about asking the customers?
  • Looking back, when was the last time you completed a customer survey (customers and prospects) to validate the competitive advantage?
  • Did it validate the competitive advantage, if not, did you just ignore it OR did it surprise you?
  • Did the survey reveal that the customers had an entirely different view as to what your competitive advantage was?

Remember it is a race all about action and reaction.

  1. What are your competitors doing?
  • When was the last time you looked at your competitors to understand how your competitive advantage differentiates and adds greater customer value?
  • Depending on the rate of change in your industry such a review may need to be every year or shorter.
  1. Change is constant, so to stand still is to be left behind. What are you working on to improve your offering, keep your competitive advantage current and improving? For example, perhaps a digital version to stay ahead.
  2. Your staff can help in many areas. For instance:
    • When was the last time you asked for their thoughts on the current offering or their ideas on how it could be improved?
    • They can perform a mystery shop on the competition or
    • They can act as advocates for your products or services?
  1. Finally, are there any fundamental and universal changes taking place in your market or industry? Changes arising because of technological/regulation/political etc.
  • Are those changes a threat to your competitive advantage or is this an opportunity to be seized?

Once you have started to consider or better still answer those questions, then you are on the road to developing a competitive advantage that works for your business. As a secondary benefit, you will also be able to answer that implied question I started with:

What compelling competitive advantage does your business have over the competition?

“Competitive Advantage, of course I have got one ……. “

You won’t have to ponder you will be able to articulate your competitive advantage in 1-2 mins with clarity and confidence and give examples of success and customer satisfaction to back up the statement.

Hopefully you have found this article useful, thought provoking and it inspires you either to create a competitive advantage or re-visit your current one to see if it is still valid. However, if you think you would like help with this, then please contact us and arrange your complimentary mentoring/coaching session with one of our experienced team.

Click here to book a place on a free seminar around business growthree seminar around business growth that are held nationwide throughout the UK:

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