Too many entrepreneurs settle for mimicking what their competition is doing and accepting what customers expect.  Such a mindset leads to not being differentiated in the marketplace, and the only thing such companies can ultimately compete on is price, which is a bloody race to the bottom.  Given the tragic ends of undifferentiated positioning, how can a company find, communicate and operationalize what makes it unique relative to the competition?  Follow these three steps.

Adopt A “Blue Ocean” Mentality

A concept developed in W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne’s book Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant deals with this issue. Companies that compete in “Red oceans” aren’t very different from each other, while “blue oceans” companies make the competition irrelevant by creating uncontested markets.  Companies that develop a “blue ocean” strategy deliver value at lower cost – while that may seem contradictory, such companies don’t accept how things have always been done.  Instead, they figure out how to deliver superior value at lower cost – this creates uncontested market space.

By adopting more of a blue ocean mindset, you’ll make your company more unique.  What customer doesn’t want more value at a lower cost?!

Define Your Three Uniques

Your ‘uniques’ are what set you apart from your competition and are what your ideal customer is looking for.  Most or all of your competitors do one of your three uniques; a few may do two of your uniques; but no other competitor should be characterized by all three of your uniques.

It usually takes a number of attempts and some intense conversation to define your three uniques – but it’s worth it!  Grab a pen and paper and write down everything that makes your service, company or product valuable from the perspective of your prospects and customers. If necessary, ask prospects and customers what they think makes you unique. You’ll likely come up with a lot of defining characteristics. Work with the entire leadership team to cut those down to only three statements. Within them lies the value only you can uniquely offer to your prospects and customers.

Put Your Three Uniques Into Practice

It’s not enough to determine your Three Uniques and never think about them again. Ideally, your company’s business model will be built around them. The three statements of what makes your company unique need to be communicated internally and externally. Use them wherever you can, in presentations, sales proposals, as well as marketing material and during internal state of the company meetings.

So What?

If your strategy is to compete on price, you will win customers in the short run, but lose as a business in the long term.  Don’t accept undifferentiated positioning!  Instead differentiate your company by adopting the three steps above.  Doing so goes to the heart of getting what you want from your business, and builds a business of greater value.

Next Steps

Schedule a call through to discuss how we have helped clients pursue a strategy of differentiation in the marketplace.

About The Author

Tom Barrett is a Professional EOS Implementer™ and the CEO of Navigate the Journey, a Nashville based firm that helps entrepreneurs get what they want from their business and life.

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