Not all businesses are created equal. Leverage the attributes that make yours unique.
It is critical for CEO’s and executives in general to understand the attributes that make their respective businesses unique. These unique attributes vary and may include elements of product design, engineering, service delivery, product quality and intellectual property among others. Executives ought to lay awake at night thinking about maintaining current sources of competitive differentiation and identifying new ones. “Where is the market headed?” “How can I leverage my balance sheet to defeat competitors that don’t have the benefit of a strong financial position?” “Do I have the courage to cannibalize our cash cow business when it’s at risk of technological obsolescence?” “What unidentified needs do customers have?”
Any schmuck in a suit can manage the status quo. It takes time and discipline to develop the innovation muscle which invariably pays dividends in the form of competitive differentiation. You won’t have a 100% hit rate, but a consistent approach to innovation including an appetite for smart risk will pay dividends over the long-term.
To the victor goes the spoils. We’ve seen this movie before in Software/Fintech/InfoServices where the top 20% of companies in a given market (usually the top 2-3 companies) account for 80% of the profits. Those leadership positions where acquired through a commitment to innovation and an ability to leverage those innovations as a source of sustainable competitive advantage.