How to Develop Your Competitive Advantage: Part 1

Aug 26, 2009

Time to start writing! We’ll start with what sets you apart from your competition: your competitive advantage. Sometimes they’re called core competencies or comparative advantages but whatever you call them, they’re crucial to your business’s long-term success.

Semantics aside, let’s get started…

We will cover:

  • Determine: unique strengths that are the basis for your strategic plan
  • Identify: what activities are core to your company’s growth


When you really have it nailed down, it helps you and your staff recognize the following:

  • Which opportunities to pursue and which to pass by
  • Where to allocate resources and where to cut back
  • How to do what you already do well, better
  • Know the difference between an opportunity and a distraction
  • When to outsource (to another department or externally) and when to keep it in house

Determining your Competitive Advantage

You need to determine why you’re in business. I know, I know, your business needs to make money, but that’s not WHY you’re in business. Your business makes money because it serves a purpose and provides value to your customers. Why, in particular, does your business exist? Ask yourself why you started your business. Take a look at what problems your business solves for people. That solution is why customers keep your business in existence.

Need some help? Here are a few examples of reasons that a few random companies gave to answer why they are in business:

  • To solve the growing diabetes crisis
  • To capitalize on a real estate growth trend
  • To work for myself
  • To provide quality window and door products better than anyone else
  • To make fitness a way of life for everyone by making it fun, easy, and accessible
  • To make my community a better place to live, work, and recreate through publicly accessible open space
  • To provide people with a great place to work
  • To be the perfect clown

Why not ask your employees? We’ve got a free questionnaire you can download, print and distribute to your employees to ask them their ideas on why you are in business.

In addition, ask your customers to help with this- you’ll get valuable feedback about what kind of value you’re bringing them. And yes, we’ve got a questionnaire for that too.

Identifying Core Activities

Here’s a 30-second test to determine if you know your competitive advantage.  A test? I know; you feel like you’re in school again, don’t you? Don’t worry — it won’t hurt. Ready?

You attend a local networking event and you introduce yourself.

“Hi, I’m Bob Jones with ABC Company.” “Hi Bob. Nice to meet you. Tell me a little about your company. What is your company best at?”

You have 30 seconds to tell me what you’re best at. If you don’t know, you don’t know your competitive advantage. Look below at some companies who know what they do best, and then jot down what you do best, and be sure to be able to recite it in under 30 seconds.


Next Time…

We’ll show you how to sustain your advantage. For now, enjoy the downloads…



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