We have identified a handful of questions to help you identify your sustainable competitive advantage. Use the “Basic” questions if you are just getting started. Take the exercise to the next level by answering the questions under “Digging Deeper”. Before you are finished, don’t forget to evaluate the competitive advantages you identified by answering the questions in “Making it Sustainable.”
- What are your strengths?
- What are you best at relative to your competitors?
- What are my company’s competitive advantages?
- Are these competitive advantages necessary to be successful in your industry?
- If you don’t have competitive advantages relevant to your marketplace, what can you do to develop these?
- What are you and your people deeply passionate about?
- What motivates us to do our business?
- What is our current business?
- What business are we really in?
- What is the purpose of our business? Why does our business exist?
Note: If the owner is answering this question, he/she needs to move it past himself.
This answer needs to not just include profit.
- What unique skills (not a person), resources, capabilities, and assets set our company apart in the marketplace?
- Can these skills and resources be used to create value in the marketplace?
If yes, how are these skills and resources used now to create value? If no, what can we do?
- What is our company best at relative to our competitors? What can we be best at in the market?
- What is our primary revenue driver? How do we make money?
(i.e. profit per customers, profit per customer visits, profit per employee, profit per order)
Making it Sustainable:
- How difficult will it be for competitors to match, offset, or leapfrog the expected advantages? Is it difficult to imitate?
- How quickly does this resource depreciate?
- Do or will my customers see a consistent, superior difference between my product/service and those of my competitors?
- Does it build a company reputation and recognizable industry position?
- Can a unique resource be trumped by a different resource?
- Can the activities involved in creating the competitive advantage be constantly improved?