“Don’t compete with rivals - make them irrelevant.” W. Chan Ki
Are you noticing that your company or department is:
- Declining in its growth momentum
- Requiring more work to generate business
- Needing to compete on price more than product quality
Now, imagine that you’re sitting at a table, along with all your competitors - and there’s a customer on the other side. Each company at the table can say one sentence to convince the customer to do business with them. What would you say? This meeting takes place inside your customers’ minds EVERY time they’re choosing what to buy. So:
- How do you solve your customer’s problems?
- Why would they come to you?
- Why would they not come to you?
- Why not a competitor?
- What are your competitors offering?
I know...these are simple questions, but they can be painful. If you find yourself unable to articulate what your company or department does in one sentence, you need to find a third party who can help. An outsider’s point of view can be invaluable when you’re so tied up in the everyday operations that you can’t explain why you’re doing what you do.
It's important to be a differentiated business. A differentiated business succeeds on several fronts. First, the practical benefits: more profit, lower cost per acquisition, and growth in the business.
Second, you’ll know you’ve arrived when you can say with confidence who you are, what you do and WHY you do it. You’ll be able to explain your business (products and services) easily, without resorting to givens and the clichés that describe them.
Finally, your business’ mindset will improve as your vision becomes clearer. Your teams will be more inspired, focused and productive, and your operations will have more momentum - because everyone will know where they’re going.
What holds us back as senior leaders and executives? Typically, this lack of success is based on how much attention you are paying to what your competitors are doing or not. Think about these statements:
1. The more time and energy you spend following your competition, the less time and energy you have to actually build your business and teams.
2. By choosing to innovate instead of competing, Apple successfully captured a leadership share of a very competitive market, and continues to do so.
3. Don’t focus on competing - focus on delivering even more value.
4. Your competition will take care of itself.
How will you respond? Your goal should be to create as much customer value as possible. Disproportionately allocate your sales force, marketing dollars, and R&D investments toward the customers and segments that you can best serve and you WILL provide the greatest value in return. Also, allocate your growth capital toward new products and solutions that serve your BEST customers (not every customer) or can attract more customers that are similar to your best customers.
Are you worrying too much about what your competition is doing?
What would happen if you stopped competing and focused that energy on delivering even more value instead?
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business and are the source of current profits and the foundation of future growth. These questions should challenge you and will ultimately help you find more ways to grow your organization by better serving your best customers.