Customers do not primarily buy a product or a service, they buy a solution to a perceived problem. Consequently, a company’s competitive edge is not relying on which technologies they use, but rather on how relevant, significant and well-known they are to their target groups, and the way in which their solutions add value to the price and expenses perceived by their buyers and users. In a future of accelerating change, the greatest challenge is, therefore, ensuring your relevance and continuing to add value over time. What is considered a competitive edge today could easily become obsolete if your business stops providing meaning to your clients and their context. What brought you here is most likely not what will take you into the future.
For a mature company, this means balancing your heritage with the demands, threats, and possibilities of today – and continuing to grow. It is about finding new and better ways of creating relevant value, in a way that makes sense to your customers, that sets you apart from the competition and that your customers are willing to pay for. All while using a business model that creates value for you too.
In her book The Strategist (2012), Cynthia Montgomery outlines five critical questions that can help ensure your future relevance. The questions are:
- What does my company bring the world?
- Does that difference matter?
- Are we relevant?
- How do we add value?
- How will we be relevant and add value in the future?
How would you and your management team answer Cynthia Montgomery’s five questions? What do they mean to your business?
Text from the upcoming book Navigating into the Future, by Elisabet Lagerstedt.