Surving – and Thriving – in the 21st Century

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Focusing solely on your “people, performance and process” isn’t going to produce results in a crowded marketplace. Here are five things every company needs to focus on to differentiate themselves, and to survive and thrive in the future.

1. Look Past the “PPPs”

Many companies “differentiate” themselves with what we call, “the 3 Ps”: People, Performance and Process. “We have great people, great performance and a unique process.”

But what used to be key differentiators – people, performance and process – have become commoditized. While the 3 Ps are still important, they are now more or less entry requirements to having a business that can survive at all, and not something that will set you apart from your competition.

2. Focus on Unique Selling Propositions (USP)

Rosser Reeves, a pioneer in advertising (and the model for the Donald Draper character on AMC’s Emmy award winning show Mad Men) first coined the phrase, “Unique Selling Proposition,” or USP. Simply put this is the one benefit your company can provide that a potential competitor does not, or cannot, provide. Brand Strategist Mart Martin put it another way: what is your “only-ness?” What product or service can potential clients only get by doing business with you? Make this front and center in your marketing efforts.

3. Move from Practice Management to Enterprise Management

Many companies were started by a person who brought exceptional knowledge regarding a particular product or service. But does that translate into creating a sustainable and innovative business enterprise? For instance, the CEO of company that makes mobile software applications might be the same person who designed the company’s flagship product. Does that make him or her great at a building and running a company? Maybe, maybe not.

Building value in the practice is entirely different from building value in the enterprise, or the business as a whole. One of the best ways to build value in the enterprise is to leverage technology and the tools that make your business more effective and efficient, and, to trust others in areas that you do not have expertise.

4. Make Decisions Based on Data, Not Emotion or Speculation

Intuition is a key trait of leadership, but too often we make decisions based on hunches, “gut feeling” or past experiences. There is an incredible amount of information and intelligence available with regards to your clients, prospective clients and competitors. Take advantage of it.

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