Do you want an unassailable advantage? Do you want a differentiation strategy that helps you stand out from the competition? Competing on values gives you that competitive advantage, one that’s extremely difficult for competitors to undermine. Here’s how you might think about competing on your values.
The reason you make the choice. There is a reason your business does things differently. Some of your choices can give you a competitive advantage in the marketplace, if you can compete on the values that underlie those choices. The reasons that underlie certain decisions about how you do business can be a compelling platform from which to compete. Here’s an example:
I have a client who works in an industry where it is common to subcontract work and receive payment from the subcontractor for the job. This payment can often be more than the contractor makes from the client directly. My client does not believe he is entitled to keep any portion the money he receives from a subcontractor.
My client makes the choice not to accept payments from the subcontractors he uses because he believes it is dishonest and because the profit from the subcontractor arrangement affects his decision-making. It’s a kickback, and he refuses to play because his values are honesty, integrity, transparency and fiduciary trust (treating his client’s money like it is his own).
Those are the reasons that drive his decision to do business the way he does, and they are reasons worth competing on. His values resonate with his clients and end up bringing him more business in the long run.
What are the values that drive your business decisions?
Your values can differentiate you and define you. Your values demonstrate that there are some things that you care deeply about. They show that there are some things that you are unwilling to comprise on, that there are things more important than money.