Last week I was at my two-day intensive with one of my coaches, Fabienne Fredrickson, and a group of amazing entrepreneurs. This was the topic of discussion.
Fabienne gave us an example of a Chinese restaurant in New York that was just like any other Chinese restaurant in the city, except for one thing. This one thing had people standing outside in the cold weather for up to an hour waiting to get in. It wasn’t entertainment. It wasn’t exceptional food. It wasn’t low cost. It was the exact same restaurant as the one a block away… Except the restaurant a block away was nearly empty.
What was this one thing that made them irrelevant to the competition?
It was free boxed wine. While you waited for a table, you got free wine. During dinner, you got free wine. Your wine glass was always full from the time you arrived until you paid your bill.
A book that I’m currently reading around this topic is Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant. Some other examples of businesses that have set themselves apart from their competition are Cirque du Soleil, Southwest Airlines, and [yellow tail]. (Yes, the brackets belong around [yellow tail]…It’s part of who they are.)
What sets you apart from your competition doesn’t have to be something you’re giving away like the free boxed wine.
Blue Ocean Strategy goes into this in great depth, of course, but for Southwest their focus is on friendly service, speed, and frequent point-to-point departures. They don’t make extra investments in meals, lounges, or even seating choices. I prefer to fly Southwest. Their flight times and locations are convenient for where I’m traveling to. I’ve gotten over not knowing where I’m going to sit, and I go ahead and pay for the priority check-in so I’m getting on the plane early in the seating.
Blue Ocean Strategy talks about three key components that are shared amongst the companies that have set themselves apart: focus, divergence and compelling tagline.
Of course the talk about what makes my competition irrelevant got me to thinking about my own business, Strategic Virtual Solutions… What’s my free box of wine? I think for us, as a multi-virtual assistant firm, it’s our expertise in online marketing, as well as our depth of expertise in Infusionsoft. We, as a team, understand marketing and can proactively work with clients and help them drive the bus. Our clients don’t feel so alone in their businesses.
What makes your competition irrelevant to you? Share with me below!