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Differentiation

To survive in today’s economy a small service business must not only do something better than their competition, but they must also do things differently. These two factors, combined, are the most powerful forces in the marketplace. If there has to be a choice, then doing something different should be the first priority.

Part of a mission statement should be to provide help that is not only needed, but that no one else can provide. A good exercise is to visit several businesses that provide the same service, do any of them provide a unique service? How are they differentiating themselves from other like businesses? To differentiate yourself you must find what your customers will want tomorrow , before your competition does, and offer that service today.

Yesterday we looked at customer service as being part of the process. My point was that you should not have to “buy” clients in order to compete. Now comes the next and most important step. What  unique value are you offering? Unless you have the “differentiation process” implemented, your customers will go back to shopping based on price. It takes “guts” (God’s undeniable terrific secret) to venture out of your comfort zone. When we put our difference in the minds of our customers, that our profits will grow. Great idea, but how do you do that?

Let’s start with a basic fact: Having a faster computer will not make a difference to your customers, differentiation has to be  a customer experience. One of the major advantages that a small firm has, or should have, is a single focus on the market they are servicing. If you try to be everything to everyone it is impossible to differentiate. There is no one “fit all answer”. It takes some “working on your business” instead of “working in it”  to look at what you competition is doing and offer something different. In my mind, a current example is Southwest Airlines; they don’t charge for baggage.

To accomplish the differentiation goal you must constantly develop and implement new services. This is an ongoing process that is critical for survival and growth.Work with your mentor and support team to constantly define new opportunities.

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“Great opportunities often disguise themselves in small tasks”

Have a great day!

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