Five Ways to Achieve a Competitive Advantage by Competing to be “Unique” rather than “The Best.”
Competition is certain, regardless if you are starting a new business, launching a new product, or selling in a niche market. For this reason, achieving sustainable competitive advantage is important to any business. In order to stay competitive, companies must adopt a unique strategy, to achieve superior performance when faced with severe competition.
Small businesses tend to encounter greater competition; particularly from large corporations with deep pockets, greater resources and bigger brands. Managers know that in order to survive, they must find a “competitive advantage.” While most companies attempt to achieve a competitive advantage by proclaiming to be “the best,” in a vast majority of businesses there is no such thing as being “the best.” Rather than competing to be the best, companies should focus on being unique in the value that they create for their customers.
The following are 5 ways that companies can achieve a competitive advantage by switching the mindset towards creating a unique organization, and choosing a different path from that of other competitors –
Provide Superior Service and Value
While most companies claim to be service oriented, those that are more progressive will back up the claim. Being dedicated to delivering top-notch service will establish a competitive advantage that is unlikely to be duplicated; compared to matching dollar for dollar, staff size, number of facilities and technologies. Providing superior service should always be included as part of your company’s marketing strategy.
Create a Company-Wide Customer Service Culture
Establishing a customer service culture as a strategic tool is useful to institute competitive advantage for any company. By educating all of your employees (staff, managers, executives etc.) the fundamentals of customer service, your company can implement an impenetrable culture that will translate into profits and growth. The best way to incorporate such a culture is to maintain a continuous service program, whereby employees have to complete a refresher course every 90 – 120 days.
Customer Complaints – Don’t Ignore Them
Rather than ignoring the customer complaints or simply managing the number of customer complaints, find out where your company is missing the mark and take prompt action to correct any mistakes or deficiencies. Use customer complaints as a learning experience, rather than just ignoring or finding ways to rationalize them. Creating a service-oriented business can be easily established by continuously refining your reflect to any customer feedback received. This is a bulletproof strategy because it is inexpensive and invisible, unlike costly advertising promotions and state of the art technologies.
Become Active In The Local Community
Small businesses rarely participate in local community events and charities, unlike large corporations. Simply by volunteering within the community, small business owners will tap into a network of business executives that can refer additional business. This is a two-fold strategy; serving the community and the company simultaneously.
Use Creativity When Competing Head-On
Large organizations will often eliminate any small business competition by implementing a diverse pricing strategy, aggressively lowering prices or offering deep discounts. Smaller companies are unable to absorb the red ink for a long period, and eventually crumble and go out of business. This is one of the reasons why start-up businesses fail. The best offense in this situation is to focus on generating creative pricing strategies, rather than trying to match price. A good example is to offer a basic price for your products/services, and charging for additional features and add-ons. Demonstrating value for your product/service will often compensate for higher prices (BMW is a good example).
Successful business owners are those that recognize that they need to work harder and smarter to establish a competitive advantage. By taking an offensive stance, you can take control of your company’s future rather than letting others do it for you.
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