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Compete to Win

5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Gain a Competitive Advantage

If you want to build a company that no longer needs to go head to head with others, you need to build leverage.

Peter Voogd

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Competitive-edge

What differentiates you from everybody else, and why should people choose you and your business over your competitors? These are questions you should be asking yourself on a consistent basis, and as entrepreneurs we’re always looking for ways increase our leverage.

Leverage can change your life and business, but only if you take full advantage of it.

Related: The 3 Biggest Obstacles to Entrepreneurial Success

In this challenging new economy you need every advantage you can get, especially in entrepreneurship and business. Gaining the competitive advantage isn’t easy and chaos is almost guaranteed, but the upside outweighs the tough times. Here are five fail-proof ways to gain a competitive advantage as an entrepreneur:

1. Positioning is better than prospecting

Everybody is looking for prospects, clients and customers. This never-ending process will eventually burn you out, and is tough to scale. An easier way to approach your business is to position yourself as the leading authority, expert, specialist or trusted advisor on your subject. This takes strategic and intentional action, but the rewards are exponential.

When you’re perceived as the expert, people will start coming to you vs. you chasing them. Be more elite and exclusive, and make it an honor to work with you.

2. Plans fail, movements don’t

Reposition your business and make it “about something.” Think about Disney. It’s not about movies, amusement parks or cruises, the company is where “Dreams come true.” Think about how Subway went from being a fast-food chain to being a weight loss program.

The entrepreneurs on a mission bigger than themselves are always attracting top tier talent. Life becomes much more fulfilling when you become involved in a movement or a cause greater than yourself.

3. Stand on the shoulders of giants

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, and you sure as hell don’t need to figure everything out yourself. Find something that is already working and make it better. In an interview I did with Gary Vaynerchuk, he said:

A penguin cannot become a giraffe, so just be the best penguin you can be.

Related: The Future Series: How the Business World is Set to Change

A smart person learns from their mistakes, as all successful people do, but those wanting world-class results learn from other people’s mistakes so they can shorten their learning curve, and not waste as much time.

4. Become a people developer

One of the biggest learning curves I had to go through as a young entrepreneur was realising I couldn’t do it all by myself. You not only need a solid team around you, but you need to know how to develop and lead that team.

When you watch sports, you’ll find the most successful teams play well together, compliment each other and have one single focus: winning. The same goes for business and life. The people you have in your inner circle, and those you associate with the most are your team.

Who needs to be on your team to make sure you have a “dream team”? All successful people have mastered building teams, and have supportive people around them that compliment their strengths and make up for their weaknesses.

5. Create raving fans and advocates

The likelihood of the marketplace responding because you want something is non-existent! Business is the management of promises and if you can consistently deliver and exceed promises for all your customers, you’re ahead of the game.

It’s much more expensive to get a new customer than it is to take care of the ones you have.

The purpose of business is to create raving fans and advocates, who will go out of their way to promote what you do. Not because you asked them, but because they want to. Outstanding client support and service is affected by every person in your organisation – from reception to the mail room to the CEO. You must create a culture where people are passionate about meeting the clients needs.

Related: 6 Success Secrets of the World’s Billionaires

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Peter Voogd is CEO of GameChangersMovment.com and is the leading authority on Gen y leadership. He’s trained well over 4,000 young entrepreneurs, and built an 8 million dollar sales organization by age 27. His podcasts, videos, websites, and social media reaches over 100,000 people monthly.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Executive Diretor Tania Tome

    May 8, 2015 at 09:48

    “Be Motivated and maintain persistent, always out of the wing”. (c)TT

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Compete to Win

How You Can Over-Deliver To Gain The Advantage

Go over and above for the people you serve, and you will enjoy the benefits of an abundant relationship.

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Wise, established entrepreneurs know that over-delivering value — which simply means going above and beyond for the people we serve to deliver more satisfaction for our service and thus exceed expectations — is crucial to a business’s survival, growth and future. It represents the core of a company’s foundation. And without a solid foundation, a business is always vulnerable to a person or company that does over-deliver.

To ensure you don’t ever forget the importance of over-delivering value, here are three ways it will give you and your company a distinct competitive advantage:

1. Creates abundance

Success comes most to those who are surrounded by people who want their success to continue. When you over-deliver value, people may be sceptical at first, thinking that you are expecting something in return, but when you are consistent and genuine with your intentions, they begin to trust and appreciate that you are just thinking of them.

Related: Your Questions Answered With Alan Knott-Craig

You never know the value of the value you are delivering. But I’ve learnt that if you are consistently delivering greater value to people, your value becomes more and more aligned with the immediate needs of the people and companies you are serving — and abundance in the relationship is created. This is what over-delivering value is all about.

2. Earns respect

Entrepreneurs who take the time to over-deliver value are the ones who earn respect. Typically early-stage entrepreneurs tend to find ways to be the recipient of someone else’s value in a search for momentum.

You never know which transactional seed is going to grow, but when adding value to others, this type of seed is never forgotten.

For example, every quarter, I deliver a white paper to clients with the intention to challenge their thinking. My goal is for them to know that regardless of whether I am conducting business with them or not, I am thinking of them and thus strengthening our long-term relationship. And since my white papers focus on predicting future leadership trends and business strategies, when a related topic arises in one of their strategy meetings, they don’t hesitate to call me to discuss an opportunity for us to engage.

3. Enables distinction

Entrepreneurs who add value to others create and sustain a distinction in the minds and hearts of those they are serving. After all, most people are simply doing what they’re told to do inside the box they are given. Entrepreneurs can’t afford to do that.

Related: 7 Steps To Optimise Your Cycle Of Customer Service

We are the originators, the innovators and the opportunity seekers. We live our lives constantly in search of ways to add value to make things better. We disrupt the status quo. We are not in the business of fixing the old ways of doing things. We create new ways of doing things. If entrepreneurs are technically the experts at adding value through our products, services and brands, why can’t we add value through the people we depend upon most for our success?

Over-delivering value is the key not only to being a successful entrepreneur but also to the entrepreneurial mindset we must continually cultivate in ourselves and others. No one is successful alone. We must see the value in over-delivering value by being other-directed and connecting dots of opportunity with focus and purpose to become smarter and wiser, while making ourselves invaluable to the people and businesses we serve.

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Compete to Win

How Netflix Is Now Disrupting The Film Industry By Embracing Short-Term Chaos

One wrong move and Netflix could have been nothing more than a footnote in the history of entertainment. But by staying ahead of the curve and embracing disruption, the company is threatening some very entrenched competitors.

GG van Rooyen

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okja

Attendees of the annual Cannes Film Festival are typically not afraid to be vocal in their dislike of a new film — booing and hissing are both surprisingly common — but the recent film Okja possibly set some sort of record. The crowd was booing and jeering before the film had even properly begun. In fact, all it took was the name of the studio behind the film: Netflix.

Why the animosity? Netflix is disrupting the film industry, and the traditionalists aren’t happy. After debuting at Cannes, Okja wasn’t released in cinemas. No, instead it was released right to Netflix, free to stream as long as you have an account.

Of course, few would have guessed a few years ago that Netflix would ever get into the business of making its own television shows and movies. According to industry lore, entrepreneur Reed Hastings launched Netflix because he was annoyed with the exorbitant late fees of video/DVD store Blockbuster.

Instead of having to return a movie once you’ve watched it, he conceived of a business that would ship DVDs right to your door through the mail.

Related: Meet The 40 Richest Self-Made Entrepreneurs On Earth

It was a clever idea, but not one that seemed terribly disruptive. The whole process could be a bit of a hassle, and it required you to schedule your entertainment well ahead of time. Blockbuster even had a chance to buy Netflix, but decided that it wasn’t worth it.

The rise of streaming

Even as Netflix was hitting its stride in the early-2000s, the tide was already turning. It was becoming increasingly clear that the Internet was going to be an incredibly disruptive force, but many companies failed to notice. Or, if they did notice, they failed to take adequate action.

By 2007, the potential of streaming TV shows, films, music and books online was clear, but the DVD business was still doing well. However, Netflix decided to prepare for the future (and disrupt its own operations) by launching a streaming service. It did this by going to the traditional movie studios and television networks, and asking to licence their old content.

In the view of these studios and networks, old pieces of entertainment had run their course, so they were pleased with the new revenue stream.

This brings us back to Okja. Netflix has been creating its own content for the last few years because it realised that studios and networks would eventually catch on. At some point, they would understand that they were giving Netflix the ammunition needed to disrupt the industry. Why have Netflix stream your content if you could create your own streaming service?

“The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us,” Hastings said of one of the most popular American cable channels back in 2013.

In a mere 20 years, Netflix has gone from a low-tech operation that sends DVDs through the mail to one that not only streams content online, but is also producing its own content — content from some of the most respected actors, producers and directors in the world. All of this is costing Netflix hundreds of millions of dollars, and it remains to be seen if this strategy will ultimately pay off, but betting against Netflix is risky.

Related: How To Make Money Investing, According To Ashton Kutcher

Netflix has shown itself to be uniquely capable in drastically shifting its business model. Here is how Hastings explains it: “Short-term optimisation about being efficient is the death of long-term success and innovation. Building Netflix, we created a company that tolerated some short-term chaos, and we manage right at the edge of chaos. The value of that is keeping and stimulating the amazing thinkers, so when the market shifts, like DVD to streaming, or licence to original content, we have in Netflix all kinds of original thinkers, and that is the long-term optimisation that all of us in organisations want.”

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Compete to Win

SME Leaders: How You Can Manage Growth

Fresh growth is all around us this Spring – find out how you can powerfully manage growth as you provide leadership to your SME.

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In the transition from start-up to scale-up, a critical factor for a growing business is the quality and strength of its leadership team.

Learning to trust and empower staff is a crucial step for SME leaders who wants to grow their business upwards.

As a business grows, one of the biggest challenges for the business founder and leader is the hand-over of an idea from the founder to the people who work there, The brand moves from being one person’s idea to being the professional focus of a whole group of people.

Without effective leadership, small businesses will be held back, more than three-quarters of SMEs provide no leadership development for their staff. What does this mean for you?

Related: We Went up Against A Highly Regulated, Entrenched Industry. Here Are 4 Tips For Getting Your Foot In The Door

If you lead your business with vision and clarity, you set yourself apart from your competition. Here’s how.

Lead the pack

A growing business creates more work than a leader can handle alone.

As the team grows, founders often react by micromanaging the details of their business. In trying to take on everyone else’s job, the founder often leaves the most critical position vacant: strategist and vision-setting.

Learn to trust and empower others in the organisation and you will find you have room to innovate, which is critical for business growth.

Related: What I Learned About Dating That Will Transform Any Business

Steady the ship

An effective leader will also engage others in the business to embrace and adapt to change as growth continues.

  1. Vision: First, plot the course for where the business should go in the short term, and the long term.
  2. Change: Understand what needs to be put in place to grow the business. You might need to source better business operating systems to streamline this growth, or change a few internal business processes, or rethink how you calculate your hourly rates.
  3. People: Growth equals change, and change equals pain, so if you want growth, budget for pain. Understand that you will need to guide and coach the staff into changing their mindset and adapting to these growth changes.

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