This week I’ve been reflecting on how we position our businesses in the market versus our competitors. Most of us are operating in competitive markets. Potential clients usually have a myriad of options and choices. So how do you differentiate what you offer, how do you stand out from the crowd? Whether you’re just launching a new business, thinking about starting or in a growth phase, gaining competitive advantage will give your business a huge boost. Knowing what sets you apart and communicating that to potential clients is key to building a business that works for you.
“The ability to learn faster from customers is the essential competitive advantage. ” Eric Ries
Gaining competitive advantage
In today’s hyper competitive market, every business seems to be striving to gain an advantage over the competition. It also seems to be getting harder. Potential clients are becoming more sophisticated and more wary. They’re much more likely to do their research online and upfront, checking us and our competitors out before we even know they exist.
Your business needs to have a compelling value proposition, something unique or special to make it stand out. This is how you prove to prospective clients that your solution is the right one. A competitive advantage is what makes you better than the competition in your client’s minds. If you think about the companies you purchase from regularly, there’s a reason you choose to keep going back. It might be that their competitive edge is as simple as proximity or pricing. Perhaps you value ease of use or speed. Or it could be more complicated, like a desire for the social prestige or cachet associated with your purchase.
Your business needs to find its own competitive advantage in the minds of your prospective clients. Here are my Top Ten Tips for Gaining Competitive Advantage:-
🌟 Be yourself. The worse thing you can do in life or business is to try and be something you’re not. Stand up for your values and what you believe in and you’ll attract people who feel the same. Don’t be bland. Get clear on what you and your business stand for.
🌟 Charge more. Instead of joining the race to the bottom, position your products or services as premium offerings, designed to solve your clients specific problems. Being ‘reassuringly expensive’ is a positive attribute as long as you’re delivering a high quality experience!
🌟 Be visible. Social media is not only about sharing what you had for lunch! Use it to showcase your understanding of the problems your prospective clients are facing. Talk about the mistakes people make and how to avoid them. Provide loads of value to build trust and confidence.
🌟 Position. Become a leader in your industry by speaking and writing about its trends, challenges and opportunities. But don’t be bland, have a point of view, share your perspectives, challenge the status quo. Collect and share market data. Be the business that others refer to.
🌟 Niche. Decide who you want to serve. Specifically. Trying to be all things to all people usually has the opposite effect. Targeting a very specific type of person or problem will help you focus and grow. Which niches in your sector are under-serviced or more challenging to access?
🌟 Edge. Look for what can set you apart. Maybe you can use different approaches to solving problems. Perhaps you can leverage technology in innovative ways. Focus on being easy to do business with and really addressing the pain your potential clients are experiencing.
🌟 Deliver. It’s all about your clients and what they want and need. Focus on delighting and making them happy not just today but tomorrow. Most of all deliver what you promise. Be reliable and consistent. Think about how you and your team can go the extra mile.
🌟 Relationships. In a world where so much focus is on scaling and automation, set yourself apart by investing time and energy in building relationships with your clients in the ‘real’ world. How can you connect on a human level and enhance the experience of doing business with you?
🌟 Culture. Having a great culture means you attract the best people. Your clients will also appreciate the efforts you make to be inclusive and empower your people. Most of us prefer to deal with businesses that treat their people well and are enjoyable places to work.
🌟 Strengths. Just like people, businesses have core strengths and competencies. Perhaps it’s your technology or your people. It could be your knowledge or your processes. Consider how you can use your strengths in innovative and creative ways to add more value and access new markets.
It’s completely unrealistic to expect yourself to know everything or be able to do everything. Please be kind to yourself and if you’d like to talk through the choices you’re facing or any blockers in your business, let me know.
Lisa Zevi – November 2021