Unfair Advantage can be insider information, a dream team, getting expert endorsements, existing customers etc. It isn’t “commitment and passion” for example.
“The only real competitive advantage is that which cannot be copied and cannot be bought.” — Jason Cohen.
You know all about your product and your service. The solution that it delivers. And you even know what channels you’re going to be reaching your customers in, so what is your Unfair Advantage.
What is it that you do that makes it so hard for other people to copy?
Now the thing is you might say your Unfair Advantage is quality or speed or service or that you’re very relational. The thing is, other businesses are going to be saying the same thing too.
So how do you avoid it becoming a cliche? The key thing that you want to do is to consider all of your resources, all of your strategies, all of your experience. What really sets you apart? This is the part of the Revenue Roadmap that is really important to take time to try to figure out. Take time to sit on it, and find your Unfair Advantage. It might be a database that you have that nobody else has access to! It might be a friend that you have that allows you the kind of lead generation that is completely going to ‘smoke’ your competition. Your background is your story, and typically your Unfair Advantage is hidden somewhere in your story.
Here are some thought starters:
What puts you ahead of your competitors? What are some assets you possess that can’t be easily copied or acquired by other businesses? Here are some examples of Unfair Advantages to get you thinking about what makes you stand out:
Inside Information: In-depth knowledge or skills that are critical to the problem domain. Basically, this means being well positioned to understand a problem, create a solution, and continue to innovate faster than others.
Personal Authority: If you’re a scholar in a specific field, an award-winning builder of a certain product, or an expert on given services, you hold sway over competitors.
Community: If you have a vast network of customers and partners at your fingertips, you’re in a good position to make big strides.
Internal Team. Do you have a dream team? If your office is loaded with unique talent, you’re set to compete.
Reputation. Have you built up a following, a name that people instantly associate with proven success? A proven and popular brand reputation is a major advantage.
A key part of creating value for your customers, which drives revenue growth, is knowing what the alternatives are to what you’re offering.
Your biggest competitor: “Doing nothing”
So you’re running a business and you know that your customers have a particular problem, or that you can solve a particular list of problems. The next thing you want to do is to find out what the existing alternatives are for your solution. It may not necessarily even be a competitive product. It may actually be that your prospects do nothing at all. It may be that an existing alternative is to not do anything because they are too scared of making the mistake of getting the wrong product, or getting the wrong service. So your would-be customer delays the decision-making process even longer.
An existing alternative might be a competitive product, in which case you need to figure out, “Well what is it that I solve that my competitor doesn’t solve?” If you’re a Business-to-Business (B2B) company selling tasks that are outsourced to you, an existing alternative could actually be your customers hiring an internal team to do it instead. So you might actually be competing against an internal team. In this case you’ll want to frame your solution in a way that explains the benefits of using an external team versus an internal team.
The point is, don’t just think about competitive products. Also think about some of the excuses and the things that people do, sometimes even just out of human nature, that would replace your solution in their problem context – even if it means they’re doing nothing.
So what are the existing alternatives?
How else can your customers address their problems? What products or services already exist as alternatives to yours? This section is where you identify competition. Who are you up against?
Research your competition using multiple methods. Ask target customers about other products or services they’ve explored or used. Utilise search engines, social media and trade publications to become an authority on your industry.