Reflecting on year end strategy sessions, I recall reminding several clients that the base of your competitive advantage comes in the form of capabilities that your customers do not have but do need in order to handle something that is important to your customers.
Because our clients have long been accomplished accountants, electrical wholesalers, architects, programmers, facility managers, association executives etc. several somehow now take their expertise for granted. So many tasks come easy to them. The thing is, just because a task seems easy to you doesn’t mean that it is easy for everyone else; and certainly doesn’t mean that it is not important or valuable.
When there isn’t an appreciation of the capabilities of one’s own business, cues are missed during strategy formulation.
Maybe your competitive advantage is your ability to both train and learn from new employees. Could your competitive advantage be the speed, consistency, accuracy and ease that you deliver? Or, could your competitive advantage be that your team doesn’t make customers feel stupid?
We probably all know CPA firms that file extensions more than others, don’t explain their logic, or talk down to customers. Having CPAs on staff who can explain Dodd Frank and its implications to customers in a way that doesn’t make customers feel stupid is a stronger competitive position for a CPA firm than having one of the authors of Dodd Frank legislation on staff. Condescension is not a great choice for competitive advantage.
One way to reduce the risk of condescending attitudes is to help your employees gain appreciation for what your customers know how to do that you and your team don’t know how to do…and vice versa. Mutual appreciation of your customers’ and your capabilities pays off.
Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called THE GROWTH STRATEGIST®. She has won over 2 dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across 4 recessions. Her midsized BtoB clients get on…and then stay on…the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. She owns and operates a suite of companies that help privately held midsized companies achieving accelerated growth with sustained profitability® through opportunity & resource analysis, 4 approaches to strategic planning, executive advisory services, growth financing, and targeted search. 2013 is Ambler’s 9th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer syndicated on line talk show that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr.) sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. An archive of over 300 interviews is available at www.GrowthStrategistShow.com. She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at Aldonna@AMBLER.com.