Safeguarding your competitive advantage
Safeguarding Your Competitive Advantage
Building a truly successful business involves being an industry leader in your particular line of work. But is your business’ specific competitive advantage vulnerable? Here’s how to safeguard it.
Leading from the Front
After years of developing your industry expertise and product niche, you have created a truly unique offering. It sets you distinctly apart from your competition. But is your advantage secure, or are your unwittingly proffering an opportunity to your competitors
Get Ahead; Stay Ahead
It feels great when you’re ‘on top’ in the business world. Reaching your goals comes with a sense of celebration – and sometimes relief. But it’s important not to take your eye off the ball. Business isn’t a ‘final destination’ or ‘cup final’. The game continues. You only need to take a look at how mighty world-famous brands such as Thomas Cook and Blockbuster have fallen in recent years to realise that no business is immune to failure. Both of these businesses failed because they didn’t adapt quickly enough to changing markets and innovation from competitors.
In 2000 Blockbuster famously had the opportunity to buy an online film streaming company for $50million. Its name? Netflix – a company currently worth over $100 BILLION. Blockbuster failed to see an opportunity to push their brand ahead into the 21st century. It stood still as industry innovators were just beginning to gear up.
Standing still in business or failing to adapt effectively is a ticking time bomb; it’s only a matter of time before you are overtaken. So what steps do you need to take to secure your competitive advantage?
Securing Your Competitive Advantage
1) Establish your Current Situation
You need to define exactly what makes your offering unique. This means you will need to not only look into the fine detail within your own business; you’ll also need to carefully analyse your competition too. Having a deep understanding of the current landscape within your industry (as well as upcoming developments) will allow you to ascertain just how secure your competitive advantage is. The Business Model Canvas offers a useful method of analysis which will help you to consider your offering from all angles.
2) Develop Your Strategy
Now you have defined your business’ situation, and that of your competition, you need to develop a strategy to maintain your competitive advantage. Can you insulate your advantage as intellectual property? Or do you need to develop a R&D (Research and Development strategy?
3) Secure your Trade Secrets
Stop your valuable intellectual property getting into the wrong hands. Whether your IP is stored physically or digitally, gain some professional guidance on keeping it secure. Only grant access to those within your company who absolutely need it and train your staff to ensure the rules around the use of this information is clear. Where relevant, you may wish to seek legal advice around securing your IP.
4) Continually Monitor and Adapt
Implement effective methods and processes to ensure your business keeps abreast of industry developments. Keep developing your strategy accordingly.
Is Your Competitive Advantage Safe?
Ultimately, in this fast-changing world, where the speed of technological innovation continues to snowball, it has never been more important to have a proactive approach when it comes to your business’ competitive advantage.
Not having a secure competitive advantage leaves a business in the hands of its competition.
What will you do to secure your competitive advantage?