An Interesting Take on Competitive Advantage
An interesting take on gaining a sustainable advantage of value for a new venture
Some interesting insights on competitive advantage were generated during a recent session with some budding managers. We had been exploring the value of the ‘strategic window’ ข้อดีของ UFABET as a metaphor for new business development and had reached the point of ‘closing the window!’
The act of ‘closing the window’ therefore, refers to the necessity for a company to plan, prime and deliver a full advantage over its competitors to create barriers to frustrate followers interested in benefiting from the innovation. Why? For this reason; any advantage a company generates over its rivals with a strategic innovation, will be lost if it is imitated or is easy to copy.
Two types of competitive advantage
The types of decision making required revolve broadly around two specific areas. The first concerns SOURCES OF ADVANTAGE; these resources include such factors as internal processes and capabilities. Being able to consistently offer something different and better in the ways described will occur only if the business is itself different from its competitors in some way. This means that a competitive advantage in the market place must be delivered from within the business and be supported by it. Broadly speaking there are three sources of advantage:
- Distinctive capabilities – concern innovative ability, reputation, architecture.
- Strategic assets – relate to things the business owns or has access to; technology, brand names, copyrights and trademarks, distribution rights, location, cost advantages.
- Distinctive competence – refers to the process/procedure that enables a company to generate new offers rooted in competitive advantage. Consider CEMEX, Apple, Tesco and so forth.
The second type of competitive advantage relates to ADVANTAGES TO CUSTOMERS’ namely the benefits that customers receive from the product service offer. The starting point of course is that the customer is consistently offered value. In short competitive advantage may also be described as the reason why customers spend their money with one business rather than another.
So what are the major sources of advantage customers seek? Well, some of the more important ones include: lower prices (for better value for money), improved performance (for meeting needs more effectively), good service (for problem solving), brand value (for expressions of commitment to quality) and access to distribution (for greater convenience).
Sustaining competitive advantage
As we all know business does not stand still! Competitors will be prompted to respond to another company’s success if it loses business. A new venture, therefore, cannot hide its edge over competitors for long. Thus it is essential to create an advantage that is hard to imitate. The question to address is how this can be achieved.
One way of looking at the issue is to examine how competitive advantage may be gained by reversing the question and asking how competitive advantage may be lost. Thus if rivals were to achieve lower costs, or gain knowledge that was exclusive and valuable, or build a stronger a network of relationships than the new business enjoys, and if they were able to develop structural advantages over the way the new venture organizes itself then the new venture’s original advantage would be lost.