A Key Driver in Building Your Company’s Value
Maximizing the value of your business is a process, requiring a focus on drivers of transferable business value.
Competitive Advantage is one of those key drivers.
“Why Should I Buy From You?” Whether you hear this question out loud or not, it is what every potential customer is thinking!
Do you provide something better, or different? Is it truly different? If you can clearly differentiate yourself and/or your company, you will attract more customers and they will stay with you longer. This will build and help you grow the value of your company as you work toward an exit plan.
This is not a one-time exercise. Competitors will copy you, to the extent possible. Today’s competitive advantages can go away quickly. You need to develop a strategy that will not just get you out in front but one that will also keep you focused on staying out in front!
Here is just one definition of “competitive advantage”:
“An advantage that a firm has over its competitors, allowing it to generate greater sales or margins and/or retain more customers than its competition…Competitive advantages give a company…an ability to generate greater value for the firm…the more sustainable the competitive advantage, the more difficult it is for competitors to neutralize the advantage…”
There can be many types of competitive advantages, here are some examples:
More effective operations: Ensuring that your internal business operations improve the customer experience, that you eliminate problems before the customer sees them and that all of your employees are engaged. This is operational excellence!
A better product or service: This maybe something that is more effective, has more uses, is better made / longer-lasting, etc.
Cost: Simply set your price lower than others. You will need to make sure that your business model and expense structure can thrive with this strategy.
Unique products or services: You invented it, nobody has copied it…yet(!).
A more extensive range of products or services: A product line mix others cannot match.
Distribution network: You can get it to the customer’s location(s) more quickly.
Service and customer support: Your support is truly superior (make darn sure you can support this claim!).
Find YOUR competitive advantage. Consider the possibilities and determine which one should be your focus. Seek input from your staff, customers, vendors and others you trust. Decide which one to build and emphasize. You cannot pursue and excel at all of these.
Before you start to talk about it, brand it, tell everyone about it or brag about it… make sure you are really achieving it! Make sure you can validate the claim! Make sure you can walk the talk! Worse than poor service or an inferior product is claiming great service or a superior product – when it is obvious that you are not delivering on the claim!
As you work your exit planning process, you will see revenue and profitability start to grow today!
See more on building value.
David Shavzin, CMC