Jack Welch; retired, former CEO of GE; was quoted for saying, “If you don’t have a competitive advantage…don’t compete!” That quote is simple, to the point and most importantly a great strategy! So what can you do to stay ahead (or get ahead) of your competition? Let me share five best practices:
1. Who are your most strategic competitors? Here’s how to tell:
- They offer similar products and/or services
- You compete with them all the time
- You have lost business to them in the past
- They’re in most (if not all) of your markets
- The market views them as your competitor
2. What are they doing? Create a library of information to use, including:
- Collateral material
- Pricing information
- Copies of contacts/proposals
- Website information
- Social Media feeds
- Copies of advertising/promotional materials
3. Create your Unique Value Proposition (UVP). A UVP communicates what it is that your company, products or services do that your competition doesn’t do, can’t do or won’t do. Define what makes you different, and therefore, better.
4. When do you win? Create a Win/Loss Analysis when you competed with a specific competitor over the past twelve to fifteen months. Ask yourself:
- Why did I win?
- Why did I lose?
- What did I learn?
5. How can you win ALL the time? Ask yourself:
- What are our strengths versus this competitor?
- What are our weaknesses versus this competitor?
- What opportunities exist versus this competitor?
- What threats could occur from this competitor?
If you want to stay ahead of your competition you have to know who they are and have a strategy to beat them: competitive advantage!
- Know who your current competition is and what they do
- Identify future competitors
- Identify your differences
- Know your customers and what they need/want
- Offer fresh/new products
- Find new markets to enter
- Increase your marketing efforts
- Better leverage social media
- Treat your employees like your best assets