Every once in awhile, I get an email that asks me to give out ideas (strategy) that previous clients used to achieve a particular goal. I’ve attached part of an email conversation below. It only explains part of the story, but let’s just say that I’m being asked for a secret recipe that they can plug-and-play and voila!
I can give you this information, but it’s no use to you because if all you want is to try to copy their success, let’s just say you’re going nowhere.
Best practices that worked for someone else don’t necessarily mean they’ll work for you. You shape your business based on your own strategy that works to your unique mix of strengths and weaknesses.
Strategic behavior that benefits you
If you truly want to differentiate, look outside your industry. Pick a goal like ‘we will provide the best customer service period to our customers’ and instead of looking for ‘examples’ on how your competitors might do this, look for companies that are known to give the best customer service in their respective industries and see how you could use that to your advantage.
Examples of companies that give superior customer service are Amazon, Zappos, Ritz Carlton, GoDaddy and they all have different ways of achieving this. They’re all known for this because they’ve stayed away from conventional strategic logic and are willing to do what their competitors can’t even dream of.
The whole point of being strategic is to be so different that your competitors will try to emulate you, not the other way around. If you can’t win in the game you’re playing in, think for yourself and create your own game.
What say you?
P.S. Sorry for over-linking to my Posterous blog but I think you can see a pattern there.