In this age of hyper connectivity, if you think that you’re in direct competition with someone else, there’s something wrong with your business strategy. For many businesses, there’s an angle or a niche just waiting to be exploited — and the key to unlocking this success is to not compete at all.
Look at Google and Apple, for example; Apple no more just make computers than Google are just in the search business. When you elect to use one of Google’s business software applications like Gmail or Wave, or when you choose to buy an iMac or MacBook Pro from Apple, you’re buying into a statement-making philosophy — Apple and Google exude minimalist simplicity.
For those that choose to compete with such industry behemoths, they choose to engage in a battle with two businesses that can churn out complementary innovations with unerring and repetitious ease, designed to stultify even the hardiest of business strategies — just ask Microsoft, a competitor to both Apple and Google and a company that is losing in key markets to both.
Controlling the business experience
Apple control the whole computer experience from the moment you walk into one of their stores, even beyond you pulling out your credit card. From then on, you’re within the gears and cogs of a very slick, highly artificial but incredibly refined and precisely managed event, culminating not in a purchase, as is the case with their competitors, but at the moment you begin using your Apple product for the first time. Why? Because it’s about the experience.
For those who use Google’s new Wave, an innovative collaborative communications tool, or Gmail, their highly respected web email client, you’re working within an ultra-efficient software environment that apes the features of bigger commercial software like Microsoft Office, but instead gives you just what you need to accomplish the task at hand, and for free.
By way of a disclaimer, I’ll freely admit that not everyone has the luxury of moving their businesses around in such a way as to reduce their exposure to competition. But for those that are nimble and fleet-footed enough to spot a niche, it’s worth expending the effort and exploring those gaps in the market.
So what’s the take-away moral of this story? Your task is to look at what you do, compare that to what your competitors do and create an experience that is so compelling, so enhanced and so client-centric that the added value nature of your service is reason enough for those clients to justify the expense of choosing you over anyone else.
The term premiumization springs to mind, and while apt, it’s a buzzword I personally dislike. And here’s some ideas about how to distance yourself from those around you: And here’s some ideas about how to distance yourself from those around you:
- Personalize your service from beginning to end.
- Think about your clients needs and anticipate in advance what they might want, then…
- … Exceed the expectations / needs of your clients.
- If possible, avoid competing on price and concentrate on quality.
- Demonstrate just how much you know your industry and start your own blog.
- Keep things simple, avoid buzzwords and don’t be afraid to say no!
Today, more than at any other time, there are just too many businesses doing the same things. Between differentiation and diversification hides a strategy that will help you build a service-driven business that places quality and your clients before all else.