What’s Your Competitive Advantage? 7 Strategies Businesses Can Use To Thrive

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What's Your Competitive Advantage? 7 Strategies Businesses Can Use To Thrive
What’s Your Competitive Advantage? 7 Strategies Businesses Can Use To Thrive

We live in a complex world. Political uncertainty, emerging disruptive technologies and socio-economic pressures all combine to create an environment where predicting, and planning for the future is one of the biggest challenges business leaders face today.

The reality is that managers actually have very little control over any factors affecting their organisation, so they need to work with complexity, rather than pretend it isn’t there. So how is it possible to build a strategy that provides a clear overall direction for a business, regardless of uncontrollable, changing circumstances?

After a 10-year research project, leading business consultants Professor Cliff Bowman and Dr Paul Raspin have identified the 7 key strategies that have allowed both new and established businesses to thrive through uncertainty. In their practical new book, What’s Your Competitive Advantage?, they provide a guide to successfully implementing and creating lasting value through each approach, with real-life case study examples, including:

  • Specialisation: The ability to focus on a single product or service group and compete through superior product performance e.g. WD40 is purchased by 4 out of 5 American households for a specialist purpose
  • Adaptive: Increasing the organisation’s ability to respond to changing circumstances and customer needs e.g. Zara only manufacture clothes where they know there is customer demand
  • Low-cost: Delivering equivalent product quality to competitors, but with a relentless focus on cost-reduction e.g. Bavaria Yachts combine
    precision engineering, automation and robotics to deliver quality yachts at significantly lower cost than its rivals
  • Innovation: Targeting those customers who are willing to pay a premium for products and services that meet their needs in novel and superior ways e.g. SpaceX’s commitment to developing re-usable rockets to reduce cost of interplanetary space travel.
  • Excellence: Embedding professionalism in the system to create continuous incremental improvements in product or service quality e.g. Lexus’ engineering project enabled the brand to go from zero presence in the luxury car market to parity with European manufacturers.
  • No frills: Focusing on serving price-sensitive customers with a stripped down alternative product or service e.g. ALDI offering just the products that price-sensitive customers value.
  • Targeting: Serving the needs of one specific market segment more effectively than less focused rivals e.g. Long Tall Sally producing clothes only for taller women, using their understanding of what it means to be a tall woman to be their first choice for fashion.

What’s Your Competitive Advantage? not only helps readers to identify what strategy would be right for a business, but also outlines the cultural, structural and systems requirements for successfully following each approach. It goes beyond the theory of business strategy to provide practical, accessible guidance on how to turn strategy into action, through leading practices that evolve as events unfold.

The Authors

Cliff Bowman is a Professor of Strategic Management at Cranfield School of Management. His research interests focus on the creation and capture of value in, complexity, dynamic capabilities, strategy processes and the development and leveraging of strategic assets. He is the author of twelve books.

Dr Paul Raspin is the founder and Managing Director of Stratevolve, a strategy consultancy that works exclusively with senior executives and management teams to identify how to gain competitive advantage and create and capture significant value. He is a senior visiting fellow at Cass Business School where he teaches strategy and finance to senior executives on the Executive MBA course.


What's your competitive advantage?
What’s your competitive advantage?
  • What’s your competitive advantage?
  • By Cliff Bowman and Dr Paul Raspin
  • Out Now
  • Published by FT Publishing
  • Paperback Version: 21.99
  • ISBN: 978-1292259390
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Hernaldo Turrillo is a writer and author specialised in innovation, AI, DLT, SMEs, trading, investing and new trends in technology and business. He has been working for ztudium group since 2017. He is the editor of openbusinesscouncil.org, tradersdna.com, hedgethink.com, and writes regularly for intelligenthq.com, socialmediacouncil.eu. Hernaldo was born in Spain and finally settled in London, United Kingdom, after a few years of personal growth. Hernaldo finished his Journalism bachelor degree in the University of Seville, Spain, and began working as reporter in the newspaper, Europa Sur, writing about Politics and Society. He also worked as community manager and marketing advisor in Los Barrios, Spain. Innovation, technology, politics and economy are his main interests, with special focus on new trends and ethical projects. He enjoys finding himself getting lost in words, explaining what he understands from the world and helping others. Besides a journalist, he is also a thinker and proactive in digital transformation strategies. Knowledge and ideas have no limits.