Identify Your Competitive Advantage: Some Examples

You should be able to state your competitive advantage succinctly, both in your strategic plan and when talking to others about your business. Learning from others can be helpful in identifying your own competitive advantage. Check out the following two examples to see how these organizations define their uniqueness.

Pershing General Hospital is a 125-bed, primary-care facility located in a rural area with no other hospitals within 50 miles. Because the organization operates with almost zero competition, it doesn’t need to focus on how to beat out other hospitals. However, it does need to decide what services to offer with its limited governmental funding.

By offering services that are based on its competitive advantages, it can maximize the funding it does receive. Here’s what Pershing’s employees and customers said the hospital does the best:

  • Provides the one and only, high-quality emergency, primary care, and retail pharmacy within its service area

  • Staffs the hospital with personnel who have superior knowledge to support efficient operations

  • Offers the best care possible by maintaining its full staff of highly-experienced nurses

Surfrider Foundation is a grassroots, nonprofit, environmental organization that works to protect the oceans, waves, and beaches. With 60 chapters and 40,000 members nationwide, the foundation achieves its purpose through membership dues and grant funding. As with the proceeding example, the foundation must focus on its competitive advantages to maintain its funding and be effective. Here are the themes from the employee and customer questionnaires:

  • Defined focus on environmental issues that relate to the ocean and only the ocean

  • Committed people who are extremely passionate about protecting the ocean

  • Dedicated to maintaining a bipartisanship view to foster broad-based support

You should be able to answer what your company is best at in 30 seconds. Look at figure and use the formula (your business name + what you’re best at + why) to put your list of unique activities into a succinct statement or bulleted points.

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