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The Best Advantage in Business

A lot of people (including me) talk about competitive advantage and how it is vital to the ongoing success of a business. This is very true, but what is the BEST sort of competitive advantage to have and what is plan B if you don’t have one.

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A lot of people (including me) talk about competitive advantage and how it is vital to the ongoing success of a business. This is very true, but what is the BEST sort of competitive advantage to have and what is plan B if you don’t have one.

Without doubt the best competitive advantage to have is competitive UNIQUENESS. This means the features of your product or service that is unique in the market and your competitors cannot match it. This could mean that your whole product or service is totally unique, or perhaps just certain features of it. For example, you may have a unique chemical compound for preventing rust on marine steel, protected by patent, that no one else has available. This is a totally unique product. Another example could be a photocopy machine that has a unique feature of low toner use. Lots of other companies have photocopiers that do what yours does (in general terms) but don’t have your one unique feature.

Does your product or service have elements of uniqueness? If so focus your marketing on these points. Target customers who will benefit from that particular feature and dominate that segment of the market.

Don’t have a UNIQUE advantage with your product or service? Don’t worry. All is not lost. Plan B is to look at your offering and determine what your COMPETITIVE advantage is, i.e. What do we do/offer to our customers that our competitors also do, but we do it BETTER and we can prove it? This will also provide you with a focus for your marketing and sales efforts and provide a better return on investment. Going back to my rust prevention compound, an example of competitive advantage would be where two companies have the same type of compound available, but one can be applied to wet or dry steel, but one can only be applied to dry steel. The ability to apply to wet OR dry steel is their competitive advantage.

If no competitive advantage exists, you may need to create one by focussing on the reputation of your company, use of customer testimonials, adding extra value through enhanced service to create a positive reputation.

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