Many 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.
Perfection. What does that word mean for you? Is it something other people care about but not you? Does the drive for perfection dominate your every waking moment, or does it simply denote the end of the journey where you will enjoy today’s sights and sounds along the way?
How you handle the search for perfection in your personal life is up to you but in business it can be a real party pooper. Here’s why.
Every business that exists one year from now must be doing things better when compared to how they are done today. That’s because every one of your competitors is doing exactly that.
If you are the leading business of your type in your area then everyone else is figuring out how to knock you off the top spot. If you are not in the top spot then some are trying to push you further down and the rest are trying to take your place.
It necessarily follows that if you are going to be doing things better in a year’s time then they cannot be perfect today.
That doesn’t mean that you don’t strive for perfection in business, of course you do. That’s where the inspiration for the next improvement comes from. You just have to recognise and accept that you aren’t there yet, that maybe you never will be and it doesn’t really matter anyway.
So if not perfection then what?
Every sale you make carries subliminal information with it. Your attitude and actions shout far louder than anything you say to your client. Make sure that your customer thinks that the extra messages that you include with every interaction are positive.
Demonstrate your value to your customer every chance you get. Give them extra service and great value, and do it with a smile.
Do these things, and do them better than your competitors and you will have a successful and profitable business.