5 things you must do to stay ahead of the competition

October 20, 2015 at 11:07 pm | Blog

Marketing guru, Jay Conrad Levinson once said, “I believe companies should focus solely on competitive advantage and nothing else, for it is the wisest investment a company can make.” I have come to not only believe him but be able to prove his point. This is truly a lost discipline in most businesses today.
 

Creating a Competitive Advantage Culture

Competitive advantages don’t just happen.  They require planning, decision making and execution.  Your company may hold retreats designed to engage in strategic planning or enhance team work.  I have asked hundreds of CEOs, how much time they devote to defining and creating competitive advantages for their company.  I continue to be astounded by the honest answers of “never” or “once a year”.  When they say “once a year”, I follow up with “how much time do you spend on it?”  More often than not, I get a meek reply ranging from 30 minutes to an hour, on average.

 

Marketing guru, Jay Conrad Levinson once said, “I believe companies should focus solely on competitive advantage and nothing else, for it is the wisest investment a company can make.”  I have come to not only believe him but be able to prove his point.  This is truly a lost discipline in most businesses today.

 

Here are 5 things to consider:

  1. When was the last time you had a disciplined look at your competition and compared their differentiators to yours? Few companies do much more than glance at their competitor’s websites or rely on sales people for hearsay, anecdotal information.

 

  1. What can you do, beginning today, to instill a competitive advantage mindset in your organization? Bring your team together and ask them for a plan to do this.  You may be pleasantly surprised, they have been waiting for you to ask.

 

  1. How often do your customers ask for a lower price, and what percentage of the time does your company give in? Much to my surprise very few CEOs knew the answer to this question when asked of their own sales teams.

 

  1. What competitive advantages do you currently enjoy that can disappear very quickly if the competition decides to zero in on you? How are you building a protective moat around your company?  It is essential to have a process in place that monitors key competitors that is disciplined, rather than a haphazard approach that may or may not catch what is going on?

 

  1. Do your internal metrics back up what you are claiming to be your competitive advantages? You can’t say “we have more inventory than anyone else”, if you don’t know if you do for a fact; or, if you miss orders because you are short of items.  We have conducted research for over 200 companies to learn top buying criteria of our client’s customers and prospects.  More often than not, organizations do not have metrics to support the most valued attributes.

 

Companies are leaving money on the table and risk being vulnerable when there is little or no focus on differentiators. Margins shrink and revenues are left behind.  This economy demands better attention to creating a competitive advantage culture.