Innovate to Differentiate

September 12, 2019

ISSN# 1545-2646

Innovate to Differentiate

To be truly outstanding in an area of excellence you must dominate that area.  When you hear this you might think of large corporations like Walmart leading the price category or Mercedes leading the quality category. The same is also true for smaller businesses.  You can’t be the absolute best in multiple categories.  You must have great focus and intent in multiple categories but you can only have one paramount area of excellence which all other aspects of your business play in to and out of.

So which area of excellence does your company excel at – Price, Quality, Time? By identifying your key area of excellence you must now separate yourself from the others in the market space. Being a me too business gets you some business but by being the leader in the business segment not only do customers flock your way but so does a universe of other opportunities.

To be the leader you must offer something which differentiates you from other options in the same or similar market place. In today’s market place there are many options out there so you must be specific.  Let’s use an example of a service company who delivers some in location service.  Many service companies try to be great on taking care of the customer.  Many promise a time at which their technician will arrive at the location. most of them provide windows of time – i.e. between 9:00am and 5:00pm or some have narrower time slots like between 2:00pm and 5:00pm in the afternoon.  Yes, they allow you to pick which window but you are now tied to your location during that window.  Some enhance the service by calling you when the technician is in route so your pain of waiting now has a more specific tolerance level. All of these are done with the greatest level of intention to take care of the customer, but it still places the burden on the customer to wait at the location until the service person actually arrives.  The longer the window the greater the aggravation.

Time to innovate on this area of excellence.  Let’s say you have decided that time is the key area to separate your business from the next.  Being able to offer your target audience (your best paying customers) a service on demand level of service.  You might first need to narrow in on what services you can actually deliver in this new time demand.  Maybe it is only on select services but the marketplace has a bounty of need for that specialty. The volume you generate offsets the other business actions which you offered. Possibly they are not as needed or maybe not something you do as well.  As you can see, being selective, narrow and focused requires you to make deliberate intention based decisions.  You just cannot be a jack of all trades and be a master of all of them.

So innovation comes in different forms.  To often business leaders look at innovation strictly through the lens of some new product or new technique.  The reality is that there are numerous innovations to be crafted on the how it is to be accomplished rather than what is used to get it done.  If you desire to be an innovator in a segment then you must look at the same problem using the same set of restrictions from very different angles and perspectives.  You may need mobile offices in specific geographies in order to have the response level being targeted.  You might need a different type of technician who can be more agile and flexible to these new demands rather than having to do their role the same what all the prior companies have done it.

Differentiation through innovation is not for everyone.  Especially those who stick primarily with traditional approaches.  Yes they have been proven to work, but eventually they will be replaced with a better idea.  The introduction of the mass assembly line shook up the automotive industry 100 years ago and put all kind of support businesses out of business.  The question for you is not if, but when will the absence of innovation in your industry place your business asset at risk?

Wondering about focusing your business on something innovative? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida.

Questions or comments – email us at or call our Offices – MI at (313) 527-7945 FL at (407) 984-7246


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