Monica, the owner of a small business, is making a list of future goals for her establishment. She realizes she needs to work toward a tangible aim that can make her business flourish. She wants greater profits and better growth. Most importantly, she needs a lasting impact so that her success doesn’t fizzle out. How can she achieve all this?
One of her colleagues tells her about sustainable competitive advantage. If Monica wants her business to have a long-time edge over others, she needs to work toward creating a sustainable competitive advantage.
First, let’s find out the sustainable competitive advantage meaning.
Sustainable competitive advantage is a feature, capability or asset that a company might have that makes success difficult to replicate or outdo. This gives the company a long-term or sustainable advantage over its competition.
Building sustainable competitive advantage is crucial for companies to maintain their competitive edge in the market. If you do manage to develop a sustainable advantage, the chances of your company losing its relevance will be much lower.
Now, how exactly is one supposed to go about building sustainable competitive advantage? Some steps must be followed, which include understanding the concept by studying a sustainable competitive advantage example or two and then adapting them to your own venture. Additionally, reading up on sources of sustainable competitive advantage will also deepen your understanding.
There are several ways to go about building a sustainable competitive advantage for your company. Here are some strategies, along with sustainable competitive advantage examples.
Strategically Acquired Assets
Companies that do valuable research can come up with efficient strategies to acquire assets, such as copyrights, trademarks, patents or domain names.
If a company can provide high value and good quality without compromising on price, that can create a great sustainable advantage. If they can effectively harness economies of scale, then the competition cannot take their market share since their prices make them a provider of goods and services at low costs. This is why low prices are an important sustainable competitive advantage example.
Uniqueness Of The Product/Service
If the product being offered is unique, or if it captures a niche market without much competition, then this gives the business a sustainable competitive advantage. If the company has a unique product, provides good quality, custom orders or exceptional customer service, it can generate customer loyalty.
Skilled Labor And Management
Having skilled labor and management will not only mean that the quality of the product/service is higher but also that managerial decisions are taken more effectively. A better leader can make better decisions for the company’s growth, and over time, this can become a sustainable advantage.
Sometimes, companies have the power to control the pricing in the market. This happens when they take advantage of entry barriers or use other methods to become the dominant seller in the market. In this scenario, the company starts to control the price and can increase prices without losing market share.
Obstacles To Entry
There are often barriers that prevent a new company from entering the market. For example, an existing company may have used economies of scale and been able to offer a price much lower than the one a new company can offer. This makes consumers unwilling to buy from the new company, creating a barrier to entry. In other situations, there will be high costs of the investment involved or government rules hindering new players. Such entry barriers give companies already in the market a sustainable competitive advantage. The competition is discouraged from entering by various factors, so existing companies get a long-term sustainable advantage.
If a publisher decided that they would never publish books digitally, then they would start losing market share. You could already have a competitive advantage as is, but to ensure that it is a sustainable competitive advantage, you must keep innovating.
Over some time, customers develop brand loyalty. Once that happens, it gives the companies a sustainable competitive advantage, as consumers are likely to continue to choose their product despite price fluctuations. The catch here is that the company needs to maintain its quality. Otherwise, consumers can start migrating and they will lose their advantage.
Merely understanding one sustainable competitive advantage example—or many—is not enough. It is important to incorporate sources of sustainable competitive advantage into your business practice. You need to think about the steps to building it.
Building a sustainable competitive advantage will require you to be aware, do research, and focus on quality. It is important to understand the market carefully, including the parts that may be more niche and not be targeted by competitors. It is also important to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and try to perceive what they want and what they are willing to pay for it. Once your understanding of the market is sufficient, the next step to building sustainable competitive advantage is to chalk out exactly where your own venture fits in.
- Who is your target customer?
- What advantage do you have over your competitors?
- What is it about the product or service that you are offering that really sets you apart?
- Which aspects, in particular, will you have to excel at to be able to achieve what you are aiming for?
The answers to the last question could be anything, from marketing strategies, product quality and service to any other innovative plans that you may have.
Building sustainable competitive advantage is about finding what makes you different and doing it well enough for your competition not to be able to outdo you. From Coca-Cola, which relies on its brand name, to McDonald’s, which dominates the market by keeping costs low, everyone has their strategies.
Now that you have understood the sustainable competitive advantage meaning, it’s time to find yours. Harappa’s Executing Solutions course will help you bring your ideas to life and build a sustainable competitive advantage of your own. It will guide you through various problem-solving strategies and help you navigate the day-to-day crises a company can face, giving you an edge over your competitors.
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