What’s your company’s competitive advantage over everyone else?
Your immediate answer may be along the lines of “we’re better,” “our products are higher quality” or “our price is less.” But bland, broad statements won’t explain a competitive advantage, even if they are all true.
Your answer needs to be as specific as possible. Finding something you can quantify also helps.
An advantage may be reputation or years in the business. You may have more locations, a larger sales force or customer service no one else offers. You may have been the first to roll out a product or service.
Since you’re trying to create an advantage over your competition, it helps to start with an assessment of you versus your competitors. What edge do you have? Price, service, product?
What edge do they have? It also might be price, service or product.
You’ll also probably come up with some areas where you are equal.
Is there something clients and customers get from you that they can’t get from the competition? That becomes part of a competitive advantage. Look for product qualities such as being greener, more ethical or home-made. The endorsement of a well-respected organization or personality also can give you something competitors don’t have.
If your competition has an edge, try examining specific segments of your business or product that may be superior such as an individual feature or company policy.
A second step is to look at your clients and customers to see what they need or want, and then position your product or service toward that need. What are you selling and who buys it?
A thorough examination of your market could reveal a segment of your customer base you can better serve or one that you’re missing.
In creating your competitive advantage, it also can be helpful to apply a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) of how you compare with the competition.
There are some steps any business can take that will help increase a competitive advantage or become something that sets you apart from the competition:
Advantage: Immediate customer response
Advantage: Personal touch, professional service
Advantage: You care
Advantage: Buy with confidence
Don’t overlook social media as a way to reach customers and build a larger client base. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest all offer ways to maintain contact with customers, keeping them informed as well as building your brand and company identity.
Think of problems your customers encounter and how you can solve them.
If you are looking for ways to improve your business, sharpen its advantage over the competition or increase your leadership skills, you can find answers through online courses in leadership and management, and earn the certificate that can set you and your business apart.