Why Sameness is Not a Strategy
When a competing business has carved out a clear advantage through some particular product or service, it may be necessary to follow suit and do whatever your competitor is doing so well. But that might not be enough. “Sameness” is never a reliable strategy when it comes to creating a competitive advantage. In fact, it’s the fastest way to bore customers or become nothing more than a commodity in your market. If you want to develop a competitive edge, find your own niche in something that provides unique value for your customers and clients. Actively seek out opportunities that can set you apart from the competition and that your competitors would struggle to replicate. Don’t try to do too much at once. Instead, implement one idea and do it perfectly.
Here are three activities to help you create a competitive advantage:
Study the competition. Over the years, MAP consultants have coached their clients to do their homework to fully understand what competitors are doing, what they’re not doing, and what opportunities and threats exist. So, too, should you get clarity about what your competitors are doing because the more granular you get, the easier it will be to determine what you can do differently and/or better that will be both unique and of value for your customers. With this insight, you can create viable strategies that, if fully implemented and executed, can grow your competitive advantage.
Act on one idea. After doing your homework, you may have all kinds of great ideas about how you can get ahead in your industry. This happens to business owners all the time. After discovering a number of marketplace gaps or needs, they make it their mission to address a handful of them. Unfortunately, this approach usually doesn’t work in their favor because everything they do is mediocre as opposed to great. The approach can get watered down or even murky, making it hard for the company to know and do what’s vital. If this sounds familiar, be aware that the best way to approach new ideas is to pick just one—something that will distinguish your company from the crowd and you can get your team to do well. As Apple did with the iPod, choose an idea that will set your business far apart from the competition. Think big in terms of your potential to change your industry and the way its products or services have always been done.
Involve your team. When it comes to ditching sameness and developing great, new ideas, turn to your team for help. Getting your team members involved serves at least two great purposes. First, it will take the pressure off of you in terms of being the sole source of breakthrough ideas. (You want this so you can spend more time with vital leadership-related responsibilities.) Second, it will serve to develop team brainpower, collaboration, and morale, plus ownership and accountability to the idea and/or solution. When your team members get involved, they get invested—and everyone will care more about the process and outcome. Consequently, a wave of enthusiasm and loyalty to the cause will grow and infuse the organization with energy and excitement, boosting the odds that this idea will become a sustainable success.
How do you convince your team members that ditching sameness is a smart business step and a critical strategy for success?