Strategic Planning: Why Do You Need a Competitive Advantage? - dummies

Strategic Planning: Why Do You Need a Competitive Advantage?

By Erica Olsen

You aren’t alone if you’ve ever wondered what a competitive advantage really is and what you do with it as far as strategic planning goes. Think of your competitive advantage as your organization’s DNA — a collection of genes and attributes that makes you unique. When you’re capitalizing on your uniqueness, you’re healthy, fit, and successful. When you aren’t, you feel uncomfortable and slow, and you’re exerting more effort than you should.

Although you can put together a strategic plan without a clear understanding of your competitive advantage, you’d be missing the boat. Your goals, strategic objectives, and action plans tend to change and shift over time. Your competitive advantages, after you’ve identified them, endure and grow stronger, helping your company be sustainable. Other elements of your plan tend to morph; what makes your company unique is that your competitive advantages stay constant.

Founding your strategic plan on the basis of your competitive advantages is the most important thing you can do as a leader of your business or department. The leading organizations in this world have a razor sharp understanding of their competitive advantage. Everything they do builds and nurtures their DNA. You don’t have to be a Fortune 100 company to be that effective.