Someone came back to me after last month’s column, asking did they have to forget about focusing on their products and services of their business? Not at all, I said, this is vital to running a successful business.
But on its own this is not your sustainable competitive advantage. You have to focus equally on your emotional drivers as well. Your passion, your philosophy (i.e. beliefs/values), combined with your purpose, is what will make you unique, different and more attractive.
Customers are attracted to passion like moths are to a flame.
If you are clear about what’s important to you, why you’re different, why it matters – customers love it.
There are numerous businesses essentially offering exactly what you are offering. Sure everyone has a different logo, a different name and they subtly change their service or product offer to differentiate themselves. But, at the end of the day, you’re all doing the same thing!
The ones that get ahead bring their inherent DNA competitive advantage into play and shine brighter than those around them. They get noticed, they inspire and they attract customers who think like they do. They don’t have to spend so much time, energy and money finding customers.
Here’s how you can start to explore the foundations of your inherent DNA competitive advantage. All you do is ask yourself three simple questions.
1. WHO ARE YOU – REALLY?
Now this question isn’t as simple as you think. It’s not your name, it’s who you are as a person. To help you along the way, ask yourself would you carry on working in your business if you were given $100 million as a gift? If “yes”, list the reasons why you would. If “no”, list the things that would have to change before you would want to continue to work in your business.
Becoming clear about what’s important to you, what you’re passionate about, is the first step. This gives you the basic guidelines on how you want to run your business going forward.
2. WHAT DO YOU DO?
This next question looks dangerously simple as well! Sorry, it isn’t.
What’s the one thing you can claim only your company can do? The answer doesn’t necessarily lie in the pragmatics of what you do, but then it could. It might lie in your beliefs or values. There again it might lie in something factual. The main thing here is it can’t be a list of things!
It’s just one thing you do that none of your competitors claim to do.
Here are some examples:
So here’s your sentence to complete:
Our company is the ONLY __________ (category) that __________ (benefit).
Complete this sentence and you’ve got a powerful tool to use when talking to your prospective clients. It’s an ice breaker. More importantly, it starts to lifts you out of being a JASPER (Just Another Service ProvidER) scrambling for work.
3. WHY DOES IT MATTER?
So now that you know who you are and what you do, here’s the trip wire question – why does it matter? In other words, why should anyone care?
To address this question you need to write the obituary of your business. Imagine a newspaper was writing an article on your business after you had shut your doors for the very last time in say 25 years’ time. What sort of obituary would you like them to write?
I have worked with a business broker in Wellington who has developed a unique and powerful reason for doing what he does – which is to help baby boomers sell at the highest price so that they have more disposable income to spend back into the New Zealand economy (which is good for them and for the country).
Two weeks after our last session, he rang me to say that many things had happened. The key ones were he was asked to be interviewed on National Radio and the BNZ wanted him to be one of the speakers in their leadership seminar series in Wellington. He was no longer Just Another Business Broker.
He had the basic foundation of his DNA competitive advantage sorted and he was already reaping results in ways he never imagined before we met.
Next month we will ramp things up with Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Branson – what do you advocate?
Michael Major can help you unlock and leverage your inherent competitive advantage. Follow his articles over the next 12 issues, answer his questions and email Michael on firstname.lastname@example.org for feedback. If you send answers from every issue for the next 12 issues you can be one of four people to win a free half day consultation.