Well, business today is not without competition. While it is quite essential and essential to gain a competitive advantage over your rivals, how can you ensure that you can continue to have a sustainable competitive advantage?
Confused you further? What is this Sustainable Competitive Advantage? Lets us check out what is a sustainable competitive advantage and how to achieve it.
What is Sustainable Competitive Advantage?
Well now that we are aware of what is a competitive advantage and how you will be able to gain an edge over your competitor, Sustainable competitive advantage refers to achieving a competitive advantage that offers you long term sustainability of your assets.
In simple words, the sustainable competitive advantage would mean your company assets, abilities and other factors that are not easy to replicate or duplicate. This will mean you will have a long term positional hierarchy over the competitors.
The trick here is too not become a part of me too entity in a business environment. The key is to stay different from what your competitor offers.
Types of Sustainable Competitive advantage
Broadly speaking, sustainable competitive advantage will involve three significant factors. Let us understand these three basic types of sustainable competitive advantage options one by one.
- Cost Advantage – The cost advantage refers to staying ahead of the competition with a focus on cost or price. You would provide value for money for the consumers. This is done by achieving lower pricing for the product. You will be able to achieve it through a reduction in production costs through several steps.
- Value Advantage – You will provide a different option for the customers. The price may not be a concern. However, you will ensure that your product will offer different features and functions than your competitors.
- Focus Advantage – The focus advantage will be similar to cost advantage or differential advantage. But the focus would be on a specific niche market. This niche can be location-specific or customer base specific.
Yet another excellent option that can prove to be practical and useful in achieving the best options for a sustainable competitive advantage would include the first-mover advantage. This is where you would enter a particular market as a new player in the absence of any of the other competitors.
Having the first-mover advantage in a specific niche and a particular market can prove to be extremely healthy and practical. You will have a competitive advantage over the other competitors which would enter the same market in a later stage.
The first-mover advantage may not offer you a sustainable competitive advantage, as in the case of the other three options we discussed in the above paragraphs. It can perhaps provide you with an initial advantage. Still, you need to make use of any of the above strategies for the sake of achieving a sustainable competitive advantage over the later entrants.
How to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage?
Well, there are several steps and procedures you need to put forward in achieving the best possible options for a sustainable competitive advantage.
The steps may or may not be similar across all the scenarios. You would need to opt for the suggestions and tips provided here based on real-world scenarios.
The significant steps involved in achieving the sustainable competitive advantage can include the following scenarios –
- Check out the market scenario and each of the segments that the market is divided into.
- Pick the areas or segments that you have a good chance at. These can include the segments that are poorly serviced, or you would be able to target.
- Check out what your customers are looking ahead to. Conducting the surveys would be one of the excellent options from that perspective. You will be able to establish a few propositions that can be helpful in arriving at a possible performance.
- Pick those ideas that would grab the attention of your customers.
- Plan the things that you would need to put in place to achieve the best results. This will include products, services, quality, and branding, to name just a few.
- Calculate the strengths and competence levels you do have.
- Ensure how you would be able to use these strengths and competence levels in your chosen market.
- Design your business model based on these calculations and create a business model
The above exercise will help you get access to the complete design of your plans. At the end of that exercise, you should ideally have decided on a few essential factors.
- Your customers – This would include whom you would be selling to.
- The value proposition – This is what will decide why your customers should choose you and your products.
- Your key strategies – These will refer to your strategy to convince the customers to agree by your value proposition.
However, the fact that you have found a sustainable competitive advantage should not necessarily mean you will keep it stable. Make sure you put your competitive advantage to use in several ways.
What are the advantages of being Sustainable?
Opting for a sustainable competitive advantage can help your customers get convinced why they should give you business. That way you and your staff will be able to sell the exact products and services to your customers that they are looking ahead to.
While it is essential to have a couple of sustainable competitive advantages over your competitors is advisable, access to a really great collection of options can be one of the excellent options you would want to go with.
The value proposition is the key to achieving a sustainable competitive advantage. You should provide the right value proposition to your customers. And then you should be able to provide the exact options to achieve it. Choose your value proposition in such a way that it suits the product market and competitor selection in an efficient manner.
Sustainable competitive advantage can make a massive difference to your business. Ensure that you do it in the right way, and achieve long term success with your business.
Pinky is an MBA in Marketing from the University of Mumbai. She loves helping people out in learning Marketing and sharing latest ideas and tactics for growing businesses.