How would I beat us? What a novel approach to making sure you are firing on all cylinders. A challenge when you get a chance to put on your competitors hat and program your business strategies against YOU. For my way of think this is a very exciting exercise.
Here is one way to do it, to figure out how to beat YOU? Assemble your team, all involved in the business, don’t forget about any family involved, and do an SWOT. Yes a much over looked business strategy tool; yet very powerful. An assessment of your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. I love to do these for businesses. The fulfillment is to see how a team responds to help chart the company’s strategic position.
This exercise needs to be facilitated and if you can work it out be sure the owner does not lead the exercise (Wish I could be there to do it for you). Pick an advisor or someone who has the ability to engage your team to open up. A person who just doesn’t write down what he/she hears but seeks to gain an understanding of the issue(s). I’m not suggesting any in-depth, tear it apart, discussion on every point (you’ll run out of time) but a way of defining the issue so upon review everyone will remember the essence of what a participant was recommending. Use a single sheet of poster paper for each SWOT area.
You’ll be amazed by the engagement of your people. A big secret of good employee leadership is to involve them in the business. Team members want to be in on things and want to be heard. They usually have great solutions to problems and great ideas on how to better serve the customer.
Now what do you do with the data. There are a few strong ‘must do’s’ from a SWOT session. Go back to each section and rank them. For example if there were 12 Strengths listed, rank which are the strongest A, B, C etc. Now do this for Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Now just imagine … your SWOT is done and ranked. You have a blue print or action plan on what to keep doing and what to stop doing and what we MUST do or stop doing to improve. This plan must become actionable; meaning assigning a responsible party and a completion time frame. Nothing gets done immediately so setting a completion date is important. But accountability is even more important.
Now back to how would I beat US?
You already figured that out! Keep doing and even take your Strengths to new levels. Shore them up. Fix them before they break. Keep ahead of the pack. (Keep in mind if you create and do something unique today someone will copy it thereby forcing you to create or re-invent a new program, system, operations, sale, incentive, etc) It is flattery to be copied. Just remember you were first and you will always be recognized as an innovator. (Someone to be copied, a pack leader)
Now find out how to fix your Weaknesses. That is where you are vulnerable and your competition can exploit. Be sure the action plans on your weaknesses are solid and held accountable.
Your Opportunities can be your next great differentiators. Look at how the team rated them and add one or two to your action plans. Please don’t forget Threats. These are areas whereby you need to pay attention and are usually external in nature.
Now just revel in the exercise and how your team came together to keep everyone on the northbound train. Just be sure this wasn’t just an exercise but something that will really improve your business.