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Understanding Your Sustainable Competitive Advantage Removes the “Bottled Water” Hurdle

December 10, 2013 3 Min Read Manufacturing & Distribution
Robert S. Olszewski, CPA, AMSF
Robert S. Olszewski, CPA, AMSF Director, Outsourced Accounting & Finance Services

Understanding your sustainable competitive advantageIt is a question that is vital to the success of your operation: Why would someone buy from me and not my competition?

The qualities that make your business stand out from the crowd are known as your sustainable competitive advantage (SCA). Companies in the distribution industry must identify why they are unique. This determination is based upon customers’ perceived value of your products or services.

The answer to the sustainable competitive advantage question is the starting point for determining your business strategy. Develop your strategy and fix your existing business model with an SCA that differentiates your business. Once you are armed with a distinct SCA, developing your strategy across marketing, operations, HR, and finance will be much easier. These functions have a far better chance of working together and building for the future.

Sustainable competitive advantage

Here are a few points that will assist in uncovering and developing your SCA:

  1. Innovate. How can you understand, meet, and deliver based on your customer’s true needs in a way that is unique? Make sure continuous innovation is central to your business model.
  2. Go beyond the product. Your competitive advantage is not your product. It goes well beyond your product and includes everything your customers experience at each point in the process of working with you. The service journey, your positioning, and the niche you serve are your SCA.
  3. Filter. A laser-focused SCA becomes a filter for what you do and how you do it. If your SCA does not assist you in prioritizing, then it is not a true SCA. A clear view of your SCA translates into the total brand experience; it is a filter or guide for what you do every day.
  4. Avoid static thought. The pace of change and the ability to imitate and reproduce at a lower cost is a global phenomenon. Adaptability, therefore, must be a core competence. It means staying ahead of competitors and carving out a niche in meeting customer needs better than anyone else. Attempting to live off past glories that were the result of an advantage that is no longer valid is the path to extinction.
  5. Do not fall into the commodity trap. Finally, for those who think they are in a commodity market and a true competitive advantage is not possible, think again. There are no such things as a commodity markets, only “commodity marketers.” How else can you explain the multitude of bottled water options on the market?

Robert S. Olszewski can be reached at Email or 215.441.4600.

Contact the Author

Robert S. Olszewski, CPA, AMSF

Robert S. Olszewski, CPA, AMSF

Director, Outsourced Accounting & Finance Services

Outsourced Accounting & Finance Services Specialist

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