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How Do You Create Competitive Advantage?

17th February 2016 | Kevin Uphill

How Do You Create Competitive Advantage?

In today’s world of global knowledge, capital and scale no longer guarantees success – research, awareness, openness and most of all, anticipation are of equal importance to help you innovate and stay ahead.   Changes are occurring more quickly and with greater complexity than anytime previously. The challenge for business leaders is not necessarily to seek efficiency but to understand and respond agilely to trends and underlying movements to stay ahead of dynamic market flow and change.

The innovative and strategic approach - asking the right questions at the right time, is proven time and time again.  Where is the market going and therefore where should we go?  What are our customers likely to want?  How can we gain advantage and combine that with belief and toughness?  Anticipating and reading the market needs can help business leaders take significant steps towards transforming their business model and achieving competitive advantage. 

The market is in constant flux and therefore whilst the past and present have defined us today, those who seek to create competitive advantage need to own the future.   There are many who dismiss the future as impossible to predict and so they spend little time worrying about it. Certainly predicting singular events is difficult; however, ignoring long-term market trends creates flawed strategies.

The internet has swept away many traditional media and is bringing a broader global outlook with the sum of human knowledge at our finger tips. With technology, time-investment and thought, the future becomes more visible and opens up to us. This reduces stress, increases options and creates competitive advantage. As leaders, the more we study the future, the more likely we are to be able to make the right decisions. This careful research must also be balanced with an element of gut feel or instinct.  Otherwise organisations can get stuck in the micro analysis. 

It is possible to design your current competitive advantage carefully in line with likely future trends.   Many business owners struggle to see how they can stand out today let alone create a first in class position in the future, but it is fascinating, when you look at and workshop each component of the business, what you can discover. Nearly every business has some key and often very positive differentiators; it’s just that they are taken for granted and not given momentum or talked about.

In summary, the game changing business leader invests quality time to look ahead, conducting thorough research, adopting first in class yet specialist differentiators and both adapting to and spotting trends to determine a better course. If leaders spend more time on researching and looking ahead enough, they will come across unique differentiators or concepts, ideas that can be built within their organisation’s creativity and culture. Once you have the ideas, set the marketing, the organisation and the design around them, drive at them and the more you focus on them, if they are right, the easier growth becomes. You will have a business niche that will in itself drive growth rather than you having to drive it every day.  The game changing leader develops and maintains competitive advantage by predicting trends, setting goals and designing their business accordingly. 

With the right approach, game-changing strategy can be accessible for all business leaders, rather than, as historically, the exclusive reserve of a few brave and instinctive entrepreneurs.

 

Order Creating Competitive Advantage now to learn more about how you can use game-changing, forward thinking strategy for your business .


Business, Finance, Risk, Information Management

The Kogan Page range of management and leadership books combines leading authors, practicality, detailed case studies and best-practice methodology. Our books are used by managers and leaders worldwide to make informed decisions based on the latest business thinking. Follow us on Twitter @KPMgmtLeaders.

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