How to Maintain Your Competitive Advantage
Think of your business as a knife. Your competitive advantage is the edge of the blade. Are you keeping yours sharp?
In a world of technological transformation, it has never been more important to move quickly in business. Getting ahead of your competition is one thing; staying ahead is quite another. Moving slowly – or in the wrong direction – can propel your business on the route to failure. It’s therefore crucial to make carefully calculated, well-informed decisions to secure your business’ future.
So, having established a strong competitive advantage, how can you keep it? Here’s our guide…
Ongoing Competitor Analysis
What are the other big-hitters in your industry doing? How are they moving forwards, and at what speed? Consider your competition from an industry level – looking at more general trends and patterns – and also at individual businesses. This is a crucial step; the information gathered here will inform your future strategy.
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Analyse your customer’s behaviour. Consider their feedback and look for more general societal or industrial changes which could influence their future needs. If your business is B2C, you may benefit from conducting a VOX pop to help you to understand changing consumer tastes. For all businesses, take a look at a SWOT / PEST analysis review.
Be hyper-critical when analysing your own competitive advantage. This analysis should always be conducted after carefully looking at your competitors’ operations.
To complete effective self-analysis, you need to:
- Carefully define what makes your product or service unique. Consider all of the processes, people and materials involved.
- Compare your product with that of your competition and their closest offering.
- Consider any areas in which your competitive advantage may be vulnerable.
- Consider any areas for future development or opportunity.
Develop Your Strategy
After gathering all of this information, you will be well placed to develop a strategy to keep ahead of the competition. You may need to seek professional advice to implement an effective strategy going forward. For example…
- You may need legal advice to secure your intellectual property.
- The services of a coach may help you to see your business blind spots.
- External investment may be required to push your business to the next level.
Your strategy should consider the current business climate in which you operate, whilst anticipating future developments in your industry.
A fleet-footed approach is needed; your strategy should be regularly reviewed – the frequency of which depends on the pace of innovation within your sector.
Cultivating a creative and experimental ethos within your company will reap rewards. Encourage staff to share their thoughts and ideas, and be open-minded to change. Trailblazing ideas can come from the most unlikely sources.
- Constantly analyse your market
- Create a coherent future strategy
- Review regularly
- Be creative
Remember, keeping the edge on your competitive advantage is fundamental to your business’ success. Keeping it sharp will allow your business to move forward with confidence. Find an expert growth partner who can support your journey with an experienced outside eye.
Straight talking advice on maintaining a competitive advantage from Yorkshire Powerhouse
Now you’ve read our article on maintaining a competitive advantage – have you any more questions?
Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’re happy to help as much as possible – is there anything else we can do to help you, do you have any further questions or can we help introduce you to an expert – please let us know:
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