Differentiation doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive

A great definition of strategy is provided by Michael Porter when he states that "Strategy is the creation of a unique and valuable position, involving a different set of activities".

Published June 26, 2019

Stop developing strategies that have you competing to be the best

Rather develop strategies that have you competing to be unique

Strategy is the creation of a unique and valuable position, involving a different set of activities

Michael Porter

This is a great definition of strategy provided by the eminent Michael Porter. His point being, stop developing strategies that have you competing to be the best. Rather, look to develop strategies that have you competing to be unique.

As Scaling Up coaches we spend a lot of time with our clients working on the strategy conversation – as well as the people one, the execution one, and the cash one. For me that is what Conversationomics™ is all about – what and how do we have conversations that enable economic growth, that enable and facilitate scaling up.

As part of the scaling up community we have a number of simple, practical, and actionable tools that we leverage to help our fantastic clients think more deeply about what it might take to be different, to compete by being unique.

This can be challenging stuff and take a fair amount of ‘brain-power’ and sometimes time. And yet a recent experience has me wondering that maybe, as well as all the excellent internal work we might do analysing how we currently operate and how that might compare to what we see our competitors doing or listening to what our customers and team members are telling us. Maybe there is another excellent source of ideas which we should also keep our minds open too.

What got me thinking was a recent experience I had whilst in Florence, an experience I have not had before in Australia, or indeed any number of countries I have had the good fortune to visit over the years, and there have been quite a few.

Hugh waiting outside Il Paiolo

Hugh waiting outside Il Paiolo

Adopting a different set of activities to make the sale
The "Prosecco Moment"

My partner and I were walking the beautiful streets of Florence on a balmy evening trying to decide where to eat. Stopping at several places, reviewing their menu’s on the street we eventually started to lean towards Il Paiolo and asked them for a table for two. To which we were told there would be a five minute wait. Now, I don’t know about you, but I am not that keen on waiting or queuing and will generally, simply move on. This restaurant though adopted a ‘different set of activities’ to make the sale.

That’s right, simply appearing with a glass of Prosecco on the house for each of us whilst we waited on the street was enough to make our experience of having to wait acceptable – we didn’t move on, we waited a tad more than five minutes, and we had a delicious meal at their establishment.

Interestingly at least another 7 to 8 patrons experienced their ‘Prosecco Moment’ whilst we were there eating. So for the price of a bottle of Prosecco they made sure that their tables were not left vacant for any length of time and locked in an additional Euros700 to 1,200 of business that could have gone to the competition.

So what might you do?

So what might you observe other industries doing? What might keeping present to what is going on around you turn up?

What simple, cheap and easy to implement ideas might you or any member of your team potentially have whilst you are not even working?