Want to do better than your competitors?

CompetitorMany advisors tell us to look at what the best guys are doing and copy that. I have advised against doing that for years, since it automatically puts a limit to your success. By doing what someone else does you naturally cannot do better than them! If you want to do better than your competitors you have to do something else. Here is the solution.

What you have to do is be better than the other companies. I’ve already written on how customers leave a company over time (Refer http://bit.ly/hUdS6J), and how this means that to just maintain your position in the market you have to be/do better each year.

It means that to improve your position you have to do much better every year, and that means that you must do much better than your immediate competitors, and that means doing something different (and much better) than them!

“Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter distinguishes between strategic positioning and operational effectiveness. Operational effectiveness means a company is better than rivals at similar activities while competitive advantage means a company is performing better than rivals by doing different activities or performing similar activities in different ways. Investors should know that few companies are able to compete successfully for long if they are doing the same things as their competitors.

Professor Porter argues that, in general, sustainable competitive advantage gained by:  A unique competitive position
 Clear tradeoffs and choices vis-à-vis competitors
 Activities tailored to the company’s strategy
 A high degree of fit across activities (it is the activity system, not the parts, that ensure sustainability)
 A high degree of operational effectiveness”

That does allow you to take inspiration from your competitors, as long as you remember that what they are doing is only the starting point. You must put your own stamp on it, and improve on what they do (And remember – they are probably doing the same to you, so be prepared to make it even better by this time next year).

So how does your offering differ from all others? In what way are you unique in the mind of your customers (and potential customers)? What are you prepared to do differently to achieve your targets and goals? Is everything you do aligned behind your business targets? What about your staff? Does every part of your business support the overall aims of the company? Can you get better at what you do?

When you have positive answers to  each of those questions you will be well on the way to attaining all of your business targets and the associated lifestyle!

Do you have any ideas that you’d like to share? What experience have you had with a company that is (or isn’t) aligned? Just click the ‘Comment’ link below this article and let us know!

You also need to look outside your industry, and in your industry in other geographies where perhaps there are innovations that you can use.

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