What’s the difference between your business and your competitors? The products or services you provide all sound the same, messaging typically explains the same benefits and how amazing the company is. But when it really comes down to it, what is so different about your business that turns a prospect into a valued client?
For example, we tell our clients that if you run across an IT provider that wants to do an assessment – go for it. The latest client to test us engaged a Managed Services Provider (MSP) to perform an IT assessment which proved our value, reinforced our service. Our IT team even hopped on a call with the MSP to walk them through some of the next level technologies we use! You see, the tools and website for that MSP – with a similar elevator pitch, website and service list as most other providers – tracked back to someone’s house. Their IT team is basically a few random freelance techs. Pretty much an MSP run out of a basement in the ‘burbs. So much for all businesses being the same.
The Football and Business Analogy
All NFL teams play the same game, are bound by the same rules, have the same 53-player roster limit, 16 game schedule, and hard salary cap. On paper, all NFL teams should be equal, right?
Let’s take a look at the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills 2000-2017:
|New England Patriots||Buffalo Bills|
|53 man roster||53 man roster|
|$177 million salary cap (’18)||$177 million salary cap (’18)|
|214 WINS||121 WINS|
|15 PLAYOFF APPEARANCES||1 PLAYOFF APPEARANCE|
|8 CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS||0 CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS|
|5 SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONSHIPS||0 SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONSHIPS|
If teams are created equal, then why do the New England Patriots win championships and the Buffalo Bills regularly finish last? It comes down to the details of how an organization is structured and led from the very top to the most entry level employee – and the ability to execute.
The “Patriot Way” is built on a front office, coaching staff, and roster filled with specific talent to execute within a proven system. Their philosophy creates the flexibility, agility, and creativity to solve complex challenges based on what their opponents throw their way from week to week. On the other hand, the Bills have been attempting to build one brand or style of football with little success. That failure has led to nearly 2 decades of ownership, front office, staff, and player turnover. The Bills don’t have the strategy and expertise to play the game well, they can only play the way they know how. Limited and unsuccessful.
So how do you view your organization? What makes you different from the rest? Knowing the answer to those questions at the heart of your business can give you the internal insight you need sharpen your focus. It also enables you to look more in depth with the people you buy from, beyond simply getting a service for the lowest cost. Success, after all, breeds success.