Living in Mexico most of my life I see a lot of people and businesses adopt the ‘imitate to benefit’ syndrome. Where they copy and paste what their competitors do in an attempt to benefit from their success.
This is a flawed strategy!
Following best practices is a sure path to irrelevancy. You’ll only get as far as your competitors goes.
Mexico is very good at copying best practices and then turning them into crap. Commodities as far as the eye can see I like to say! (I’ll write more about this in the future) but, I’ll quote David W. Locke:
To not end up a commodity you must defy best practices
To differentiate yourself you need to pick apart your business, see where you can differentiate and look to other industries for fresh ideas.
This is outside-industry benchmarking.
Benchmarking is usually done within a company’s own industry, they compare themselves against the best-in-class companies to identify best practices for new processes, methods and tools as well as fresh ideas. This is like looking in the mirror, you’re talking to yourself but nothing out of the ordinary is coming out of your mouth.
Adapting ideas from other industries is tricky since practices differ and thus requires open minded people but applying some known creative techniques can give you a head start:
- Identify a problem area where you want to improve.
- Identify industries and companies that you could model.
- Go out on the field and do the research on those companies.
- Map the insights gathered to your business.
For example if you’re a italian restaurant and want better serve your customers, instead of looking at other restaurants look at other companies who are considered the best at customer service in their respective industries. For example Amazon, Zappos or the Ritz Carlton.
Learn from them, borrow ideas that might be relevant and see how they could be applied to your particular challenge.
Key takeaway: The best practices of your industry are already irrelevant, look outside your business or industry for ideas and transform your business.