How Are You Different?
Can you come up with five points where your customers would regard you or your organization as being different from everything else they see in the marketplace? Can you come up with three? One?
Being different is a competitive advantage in the new economy. It is critical that you be able to stand out from the crowd. Who are your competitors? Have you looked at their websites, their brochures, their marketing efforts? How does your marketing differ and stand out?
Having friendly service, being able to source products, being responsive and able to provide quotes and proposals quickly, having competitive pricing—these are requirements in today's economy. Can you really differentiate yourself along these claims?
You may need to reinvent yourself or your company along several lines. Peter Drucker said, "Every organization must be prepared to abandon everything it does to survive in the future." Are you prepared?
Unless you can differentiate yourself from your competition, you WILL be caught into that zero sum game of commoditization, where the race to the bottom becomes a vicious cycle of more and more work, frustration, stress and anxiety and less and less profit and joy. All of the reasons that you came into this business are lost when you get caught up in that game.
Seth Godin has put it best. "Be better. Be different. Or be cheaper." One of the best ways to be better and different is to have a relentless pursuit of continuous improvement, creative problem-solving and focus on customer needs.
Here's my challenge to you. Take a week and work on this. Discuss it with your employees, with your customers, with your suppliers, with your mastermind group. Come up with five points of difference between you and your competitors that everyone will agree defines you. Then communicate those points of difference.