One of the most liberating, yet most difficult strategic decisions you will make is to choose your competitive strategy. Read on to find out more

This week’s riff: One of the most liberating, yet most difficult, strategic decisions you will make is to choose your competitive strategy. How you will develop and exploit specific competitive advantages in your market?

The way I put this decision to my clients is to ask,

How do you want to win and what do you want to be famous for?”

I then offer my clients five generic competitive strategy options.

(1) the best product range

(2) the best service

(3) the most convenient experience

(4) the lowest prices or

(5) the most personalized solutions?

Recently, I received a common answer from a retail client. “Yes,” the CEO replied, “We want to be all of those things.”

The problem with trying to win on all fronts is that you’re unlikely to have the resources, skills and bandwidth to deliver effectively. What’s more, a business focused on offering low prices tends to require a very different organization to one that is seeking to offer the best possible product range or the best service.

The truth is that if you try to win on all five fronts, you will find yourself stuck in the middle. The world’s top organizations make clear choices about how they wish to differentiate their business. They focus on one, or possibly two, of these dimensions and although there are infinite strategy variations – here is a sub-list of 25 ways to lead your market I recently blogged about – they are all based on these five generic strategic options.

So, which strategy should you be pursuing? The answer is likely to be found by understanding where your organization’s capabilities, the key needs of your customers, and your own passions meet.


Where is that intersection for your business?


Off The Record: Caught In The Middle by Cerys Matthews

Been crying a little

Been caught in the middle

It’s something you’d hate to admit to

But you are the only one

Who can show you’ve been sad and lonely


© Stuart Cross 2017. All rights reserved.