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Today, I want to share something really interesting about Competitive Advantage.

Originally, when I was working with many entrepreneurs and travelled in Southeast Asia. I was looking at many things around me. How can some businesses grow so fast, gain many customers, stay very long… While some lose in the market. How can some people become successful and powerful, while others stuck and going no where…

If you talked with them.. The answer are usually, “Hard work, lucky, hustling, connection, and so many other thing.”

While I do believe that hard-work, luck, hustling, connection, etc. plays an important factor. But after observation, I realised NO… That’s not the real answer!! If you don’t know HOW.

I saw my friend worked so hard, career stuck going no where. I saw my other friend prayed for luck, the business failed. And I saw someone hustling from 5AM until midnight, got hospitalised. And so many other example. So what’s the REAL answer?

I found the answer after understanding Competitive Advantage – by Michael Porter. For example, how can you help the company to gain the market share, how can you help individual to grow, how can you design something sooo valuable and everyone wants it.

Whatever your profession is, understanding this will help you to grow forward:

1. Cost Leadership.

You are offering something but there is nothing so special about it. Regarded as commodity. If you are selling a product, everyone else can sell the same thing. If you are designer, your skill is the same with everyone else around you.

What happen when what you offer is easily replaceable? It’s a journey to the bottom. The price wars happen, everyone trying to offer the lower price for the same product and services.

What happened when price wars happened? Business collapses because there is no profit. The service professional become miserable because the effort is not equal with value.

And, it cost YOU. Because you are the leader and you make your product, business, services, skills, team, etc. regarded as Commodity.

So how to win in the market? Don’t only depend on hardwork, luck, hustling, etc. Because everyone can do the same. Also NOT to kill your competitors, talked bad about them, ruin their reputation / products, etc. Because Karma is real, and healthy competition is actually a good thing. (Let’s learn about market monopoly next time.)

So instead of worry about your competitors, build your own differentiation.

2. Differentiation.

Differentiation is to create something sooo valuable only your product / brand / business / yourself can do better than anyone else in the market.

If you read my Lean UX post about business outcomes: I also explain the step by step to map it inside the canvas.

  1. For Business / brand / product building. Instead of copying your competitors for all their benefits they offered A, B, C, D, E. You can do research based their customer reviews, product complain, what customer asked but don’t have yet, even your own experience using product or services, which part are lacking?? Let’s say it’s benefit C.
  2. So instead of become the second version of your competitors offering same thing A, B, C, D, E with lower price (Commodity) and reputation (Second). You offer only C with very high quality, and continuously improving it to become the best in the market.
  3. Copying someone else you will probably lose because your competitors is longer than you, might have more money, resources, customer base, brand loyalty, etc. Their power is stronger and trying grab their market share is very painful journey.
  4. Now when you promote your brand, product, business, you can say “Do you feel this pain points (Explain C in detail)? Then you can explain how your products / services solve this C really well. This is your competitive advantage.
  5. In marketing strategy, have you ever heard? The riches are in the niches.

“Hey Deby, I understand but I don’t have business / product yet. I only a professional selling my service. How can I do that??”

Good question!! IF you are a professional like me, I am a Designer by heart, Business by mind, and Creator by soul. Haha… Then let me tell you a story.

In Design (or your own profession) There are many umbrellas, For example: UX design, visual design, interaction design, graphic design, web design, game design, information design, brand design, illustrator, and so many more.

There are also so many field of studies, such as Lean UX, service design, agile design, design thinking, disruptive design, and so many more. (That we will learn together later.)

Now look at yourself, among all this occupation and field of studies, which ONE that you really passionate the most? That you love to learn and do more? That it comes naturally for you but very difficult for others? Grow your own perceived UX Value.

So you don’t “Work Hard” – Why you like the term work hard anyway? With so much struggle, stress, and frustration. You should Work with Joy! Work with your passion!

If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life – Confucious.

Based on what you love, then you can promote yourself, For example:

  1. You are not just a UX Designer, you are UX Designer with expert in service design / design thinking!
  2. You are not just a normal interaction designer, you are interaction designer expert in animation 2.0!
  3. You are not just a normal brand designer, you are the expert of branding for eco-friendly product.
  4. and many other example. Create differentiation in your own advantage.

Now, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn other subjects. You gain more expertise as you gain more experience and become master of something you passionate about.

“Wow, Deby!! Now I understand! With these skill I can do more and also help my company and clients, to build their own differentiation as their advantage as well.” – Smart student.

When I give you valuable insights, it doesn’t mean less ideas for me, it means more success for us. Let’s share and bring more people together… Hohoho. ❤️

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