Gaining a competitive advantage

Successful businesses have strong competitive advantages. Competitive advantages include the attributes of your product or service which competitors find difficult to copy. For example, the quality of your staff: their skills, attitudes and relationships with customers; and the innovative features that constitute the intellectual property of the business.

There are 4 basic approaches to gaining a competitive advantage which can be applied to most types of innovations. These are:

  • become the low-cost supplier
  • develop differentiated, innovative products and services
  • target a niche: geography, industry, product/service
  • employ differentiated business methods and approaches.

To successfully differentiate your product, service or business model, it must be:

  • important - deliver a valued benefit to a large proportion of buyers
  • distinctive - offered only by your business or very different from other businesses
  • superior - the offer must be better than any other technologies or processes which provide the same benefit
  • communicable - customers must see the benefit and communicate it to others easily
  • protected - the difference must not be easily copied by competitors
  • affordable - the customer must be able to afford the benefit
  • profitable - the business must benefit from introducing the benefit.

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