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Better Beats First in Business Success

Better Beats First in Business Success

Linda Griffin | SmallBizLink

American Express recently asked fifty of the top business bloggers to give their best advice to small business owners. Topics ranged from taking advantage of your size to outthink and outmaneuver the ‘big boys’ to staying motivated in the face of today’s economic challenges. One piece of advice that really caught my eye was from Jim Collins who said “Best beats first. It doesn’t really matter who gets there first, so long as you figure out a way to produce a better solution.”

Poll: Does a better product beat the first mover in business sucess?

Poll: Does a better product beat the first mover in business sucess?

In my opinion, you don’t even have to be ‘Best’, you just have to be ‘Better’. Better can mean tailoring a generic product to meet the needs of a specific group or niche. Take dog food, for example. The super market shelves are packed with different brands and formulas but when I shop for food for my Pug, I patronize a store which focuses on all natural food and toys. For people like me who don’t want to read a bunch of labels and is concerned about nutrition and health for their pets, this store is a ‘better’ choice

Another way to be ‘better’ is to take a commodity and make it exclusive or sought after. One of my favorite examples of this is Havaiana shoes. They sell limited edition flip flops – although they call them rubber sandals. They have taken a commodity product that you can purchase in any discount store for under $3 and have given it a cachet by associating it with A-list actresses and super models. By the way, those rubber sandals sell for upwards of $50 a pair.

‘Better’ can also be applied to knowledge based services as well. Coaches and consultants can produce their services in podcasts, videos, webinars and e-learning in addition to traditional face-face avenues.

The secret to creating a better product is to get to know your customers and prospects and identify their issues. Look for gaps that you can fill with products and services. Find areas where they are annoyed and relieve their pain. Don’t make assumptions, ask them through surveys. I’m confident that if you do that, you will find an unending supply of better ideas.

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