How does a business engineer uniqueness which, at the end of the day, ensures that prospects in your market see you as ‘the’ choice…vs ‘a’ choice.
The secret lies in the ‘Utility’ (or usefulness) in what you deliver to the marketplace.
And there are really only two things you need to do, to figure out where you can innovate / tweak to find that (oh so lucrative) wide open market space.
In the customer development template we give to our clients, we include 5 things to ask your prospective customers to help triangulate where the opportunities are:
1) The Result They’re After (The Core Of Your Value Proposition)
2) What’s Standing In Their Way (The Problems You Can Help Solve)
3) What They Do Now To Solve It (Your Competition)
4) What’s Lacking In That Current Solution (Where You Can Innovate)
5) Why That’s Important (What Related Results You Can Deliver / Problems You Can Solve)
Their answers to these questions then become the raw material for what comes next…
As a starting point, we use the Blue Ocean Strategy categories to help isolate specific areas of (unique) utility / usefulness you can engineer.
Put simply, they are at the intersections of two ‘layers’ of the customer experience:
a) WHAT customers experience
b) HOW customers experience
Customers Experience Layer 1: WHAT
Customer Experience Layer 2: HOW
Fun & Image
The BIG opportunity then (and how you build ‘unique’ into what you deliver) is to think about EACH of those intersections and how they can become a unique advantage (vs a common attribute).
Could you make evaluating your product / service more convenient?
Could you make the purchase process…more fun?
Could you remove risk in how they use your product?
Could you deliver things in a way that increase simplicity?
Could you remove risk (of confusion, failure, overwhelm, results) in how they use your product?
Could you provide additional ‘elements’ that remove barriers to their productivity?
As an example, we found out that our customers were just not able to spend the time figuring out how to properly do market research in a way that was needed to get reliable findings…so we built a network of offshore researchers that each do a small piece of the puzzle…and we just deliver that to our clients.
WAY Simpler (done for you vs do it yourself…enough said)
WAY more productive (they spend time creating value, not doing research).
WAY less risk (are they going to get it right?)
When you can stack enough of these ‘differences’ into what YOU deliver…the competition becomes irrelevant.
You become THE choice, not a choice…and that’s a wonderful place to be.
It’s been my experience that entrepreneurs and business owners VASTLY under estimate (and thus under value) what these uniqueness ‘levers’ can do for their product / service. And I’ve seen first hand how it can literally transform someone’s position in their market, almost instantaneously…because they’ve engineered completely new territory by SHIFTING the buying criteria.