What is your competitive advantage?

Well we focus on providing a good service…If I ask your competitor down the street if they provide a good service what will he/she say? Probably they will also say they provide a good service too.

Most companies when prompted about what makes them unique struggle to give an answer.They usually end up stammering about something generic like customer service, a good product, or the like, but are unable to get into specifics.

Jack Welch famously said, “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.”

Without a competitive advantage you will find it very difficult to stay in business.  So it’s time to roll up our sleeves and see if we can bring some clarity into what is your advantage.

Understanding Your Competitive Advantage

The first step is to try to gain clarity on what is your competitive advantage.  You have to try to analyze all of the things that you do in your business that make you unique and enhance the company. The goal is to break down these ideas into specific things that you do better or differently.  The better you can quantify these things the stronger your advantage.  Don’t just say them in your head, write them down and make them real.

The second step is to take your competitive advantage and create your unique selling proposition that you can use to market to your clients.  Being unique only matters if your customers know and understand that uniqueness.  The success of your marketing will be determined by your ability to differentiate yourself from your competitors.  There are three critical factors to think about when creating your unique selling proposition.

The Three Critical Factors to a Unique Selling Proposition

  1. The unique selling proposition is true and you can actually deliver on what you promise
  2. The unique selling proposition is something that separates you from your competition
  3.  The unique selling proposition is valuable in the eyes of your customer as something they either want or desire.

The best propositions not only contain all of these factors, but also are something that you can quantify or back with a guarantee.  This will help to make it more believable.

Here’s a famous example from the pizza industry.

Your pizza will arrive at your door hot and fresh within 30 minutes or it’s free.

When this unique selling proposition first came out sales went through the roof.  The customer values a hot, fresh, fast pizza; and they believe the company can deliver because otherwise it’s free.  Of course an advantage that is easy for your competition to copy, won’t remain an advantage for long.