Do you know why your business shines, stands apart and beats your competition; can you articulate directly to your core customer so they know why and how you do this? If you can’t, the value to the customer often falls back to price, this can be disastrous as it will lead to an unsustainable formula with lower margins resulting in poor profit with now way to go except down.
Before embarking on finding your competitive advantage, or that secret weapon that sets you apart, start with a SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, understanding yours and your competitors.
Make a chart, list your hidden secrets and how you can leverage them. Complete the SWOT for your competitors and list how your can mitigate their strengths or leverage their weaknesses.
Develop an image of your business identity, speak in language that best suits your core client (primary and secondary), use feedback from a range of stakeholders that represents your brand, image and reputation leading to your Competitive Advantage.
Include in your Competitive Advantage Statement –
- Your company name (and your name if appropriate)
- The problem in the marketplace.
- How you and your company solve the problem.
Thought Starters To Help You Define Your Secret Weapon
- Know how: Your business has industry experts on board, and can answer questions your competitors can’t.
- Processes: The right process can be a great selling point for your business as well. It might be an easy and convenient way for a customer to make or track an order or a simple and streamlined way to manufacture your product.
- Culture: Your company culture will reflect the way your employees interact with customers and clients as well as creating a corporate personality that customers want to buy into.
- Risk management: How your business handles risk will appeal to customers. Most of the time a more proactive approach to reduce risk will win you customers, but in certain industries a high risk, high reward strategy could be what your target market wants.
- Reputation: This is about celebrating your wins and achievements as a company. Consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they know, and they’re more likely to know about it if it has a reputation.
- Technology: Investing in technology that will enable you to do what you do more efficiently and/or effectively than your competitors.
- Innovation: Your company has invested in, or implemented, something that is different from your competitors. This difference will mean you’ll win customers over them.
- Trade secrets: We’ve all heard of KFC’s ‘11 secret herbs and spices’, and if you have a similar trade secret, effectively communicating it will be a powerful USP, as it’s something your competitors can’t emulate.
- Intellectual Property: Like a trade secret, but instead of your competitors not knowing what it is your competitors legally can’t copy you. It also forms a strong association between your business’s IP and your customers.
- Location/s: A great example of this is the competition between Coles and Woolworths for the market share of supermarkets. Most people shop at one of the two more often simply because it’s the closer supermarket. If your business is closer to where your target market are than your competitors, there’s more of a chance they’ll come to you.
- Experience: Like reputation, experience in the industry creates trust. This is especially true in the modern era of fly-by-night businesses that seem like they’re opening one day and gone the next.
- Values: Company values that resonate with the customers and reflect in how staff interact with them creates loyalty as customers will see a part of themselves in your brand
- Work ethic: Customers are always looking to get more for less so having your staff endeavor to go above and beyond will create a value for money offering that will win over price conscious consumers.
- Strategy: The better a company’s strategy, the better it will be perceived by customers.
- Tactics: A good strategy is useless without good tactics to achieve it. For example, a company’s strategy to be the cheapest on the market is not going to work if slave labour is used to keep the costs down!
- Partners: People are commonly judged by who their friends are, and in the same way businesses are judged by who they align themselves with. Be sure to do your due diligence and pick the right companies to move your brand forward
- Clients: how often have you decided to buy a product or use a service because someone you know/like admire has done so? Endorsement marketing is essentially a manufactured version of the credibility customers give to companies with influential clients.
- Sustainability: Corporate Social Responsibility is a buzzword these days and for good reason. As we as a society become more conscious of our effect on the planet, we will gravitate more towards companies that are more environmentally conscious.
- Talent: This is an obvious one, the better the people in your business, the better the product. The better the product, the more satisfied the customer.
So there you have it, 19 ways you can define your competitive advantage and add that secret weapon to your business’s arsenal. Looking for ways you can get your business ahead of the market through competitive advantage? Book a chat with me today and we can work together to grow your business.
Business Coach & Strategist