Businesses that create value for customers and for potential investors understand the importance of defining and continually refining their approach to business for documented and replicable success. Are you giving enough thought and attention to how you approach running your business as a competitive advantage? Here are steps to take to better define your approach at critical success levels within your company for competitive advantage:
1. Business Approach: One of the most telling questions I ask when interviewing customers of clients is “What most impresses you about their way of doing business.” If nothing quickly comes to mind, then I know that this business is not approaching their operations in a distinctive, sustainable manner. The best way to begin defining your approach to business is by defining your philosophy and values in running and operating your business. This not only confirms your passion and dedication to what you are doing and why you are doing it, but it also serves as the underlying foundation for what is acceptable and unacceptable in all aspects of your business.
2. Customer Approach: Truly knowing the customers you serve best and then expanding upon the approach you take to meet their specific needs better than anyone else is what sets great businesses apart from other businesses. Define your customer segments and then provide insight to each one in your communications in how you approach serving their specific issues better than and different from anyone else.
3. Service Approach: Every business is in the service business if it wants to keep customers satisfied, engaged and delighted. From the first contact to ongoing relations with customers, what does servicing them mean to you and for them? What standards have you put into place to ensure their experience will be amazing each time?
4. Development Approach: Whether you offer products, services or programs to your clients, being able to define the distinctive way you approach developing solutions for customers can result in not only a competitive advantage, but a proprietary offering that becomes intellectual property for your company.
5. Delivery Approach: Delivering your offerings to your customers is not just a shipping logistics issue. Every business is delivering solutions to a customer either in a memorable, impressive, unique way or an ordinary way. How are you delivering the end product, solution or service in a way that keeps your business top of mind for repeat business? How are you delivering in a unique way that could also be a proprietary advantage worth protecting and branding as something the marketplace can only get from your company?
A company that has effectively defined all five of these areas is better able to consistently produce and deliver quality, distinctive offerings to customers that bring sustainable value to the marketplace. Make your approach your advantage and watch what happens.
Sherré DeMao is author of the nationally acclaimed books, 50 Marketing Secrets of Growth Companies in Down Economic Times, www.50marketingsecrets.com, and Me, Myself & Inc., www.memyselfandinc.com, Her column seeks to help business owners build and grow sustainable enterprises and businesses with economic value and preference in the marketplace.