I had a conversation the other day with a client in which he was lamenting his difficulty in securing supply. This client takes a partially manufactured item and processes it into a completed specialty item for sale.
Making the partially completed part takes millions of dollars in equipment and the industry is dominated by large ($100+ million ) organizations. The specialty business my client is in consists of small companies with annual revenues between $500,000 and $1,500,000. Since the large suppliers are going after mass markets, supply for the specialty items has been problematic since the beginning of time.
My client has done a better job than his competition at securing supply, but he still spends a great deal of his time on the effort. As we were talking, it hit me that THIS is his competitive advantage. Doing the difficult thing – the thing nobody else can do.
It made me think that just about every business has something difficult, something that can be marketed and delivered, that can separate them from the competition.
The software company that spends the time to make the interface intuitive.
The landscaper who sweeps up the clippings instead of spreading them around with a blower.
The appliance repairman who shows up at a specific time, not within a 4-hour window.
The blogger who posts something worthwhile every day. (I’m not above preaching to myself.)
What difficult thing can you do to distinguish your company in the marketplace?