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4 Key Advantages You Hold Over Your Competition

Nov 18, 2007
In today's frenetic operating environment it is difficult to know what to concentrate on in order to keep an edge over your competitors. Geographical, technological, legal, capital and labor advantages that once existed have all but disappeared (over the past 20 years) with international deregulation, free trade, privatization, venture capital and cheaper technology leading the charge.

In order to differentiate your business from your competitors, there are 4 key advantages that you should nurture and develop:

1. Knowledge
2. Systems
3. People
4. Marketing

Let's explore these advantages in more detail...

Knowledge

At the end of the day, it is your knowledge which truly distinguishes you from everybody else. Your knowledge influences all aspects of your business, especially your decision making. So how do you nurture and develop knowledge?

* Value learning and allow time for yourself and your staff to develop knowledge specifically related to your business

* Promote brainstorming and creative thinking processes

* Use your knowledge to create a clear set of values and a vision for your business

Systems

Systems are important because they guard your time against non-productive activities - allowing you to build your business rather than just keep it going. They move you from being paid for you labor to being paid for your ideas. This is an important distinction to keep in mind.

Business systems allow you to delegate activities with confidence because you have a clear checklist with which to test processes and outcomes. Consequently, you can provide constructive feedback to your people and customers regarding the core elements of your business. Furthermore, you can use the benefits of your systems to enhance your marketing message - as many successful companies have done - think of Fed Ex and Dominos Pizza.

People

People are the greatest asset you have in your business - more than your brand, systems, products etc. They give life to every aspect of your business from sales to product development. Why therefore, do the majority of business owners handle their people poorly? Because attracting and managing quality people is difficult - it takes time and effort, and the results are less tangible when compared to systems, marketing etc. There are also many aspects that can go wrong, so it pays to be prepared...

So what should you concentrate on?

* Hire people that have better skills and vision than you

* Develop a quality system to evaluate candidates based on both the skills required, and the values and vision of your business

* Make sure you are involved in the interviewing process, trust your instincts

* Avoid employing people because they are a similar personality style to you

Marketing

Marketing is the most important aspect of your business.

Why?

Effective marketing attracts people to your business who are keen and eager to buy your products and/or services. Many second-rate products have become market leaders as a result of effective marketing campaigns.

Consequently, as a small business owner it is imperative that you have a strong understanding of marketing - don't just delegate it to someone else - they can do the leg work but you must drive the decisions in this area.

The key factor in effective marketing is TESTING - if you continually test your marketing campaigns then you can maximize your returns rather than wasting valuable funds.

Remember, effective marketing can multiply you profits and therefore your success over your competitors. Ensure that marketing is a priority in your business.

So, to re-cap...

In order to differentiate your business from your competitors, there are 4 key advantages that you should nurture and develop:

1. Knowledge
2. Systems
3. People
4. Marketing

If you can concentrate your efforts on these areas, then success and increased profits will follow as a natural consequence...
About the Author
Andrew Cox is the Co-founder of Business Boot Camp. We provide FREE resources and paid programs to help small businesses get their bottom lines into shape! Join a profit-driven community today... Business Boot Camp - Get Your Bottom Line Into Shape
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