Knowing your DNA competitive advantage

By Michael Major April 01, 2014 Industry News

The first of a new series of articles and exercises designed to define and enhance your business and your offer to the market. This issue is about knowing your competitive advantage and why that puts you ahead.

Your customers are emotionally driven. Innovation in products, process and services alone just won’t cut it if you want a sustainable competitive advantage.

Customers are disloyal and jump from one commodity offer to the next. Historically, delivering a great offer was all that was needed for business growth. But nowadays that’s just a pre-requisite, not the deal maker.

Customers, despite their irrationality, crave to connect at an emotional level. They want to feel special, entertained and informed. It’s fundamental that businesses give attention to winning the customer’s heart, because it’s likely you will get their rational mind for free.

Harvard Business School research has determined that 95% of all decisions are emotional, while only 5% are rational. This explains why we bought that Hawaiian shirt on holiday and then wondered why when we got home.



You might have all the expertise, skills and capabilities in your offer but, if customers don’t like you, it’s game over. Simply put, if you want to increase sales, your customer needs to like you.

Customers like to do business with people they like and will be loyal to you if in some ways they see you as a friend. That’s your DNA or inherent competitive advantage.

Now most businesses are uncomfortable with the idea of all this fuzzy-wuzzy fluffy stuff especially if they are in a “mannish” business! If there’s nothing tangible to get to grips with, how can you measure it?

However the saying goes that what you can’t measure is the very thing that will give the greatest result. I’m pretty sure an accountant didn’t say this.

How your business behaves, what your business stands for, what your philosophy is and, most importantly, how the business reacts when things go wrong, determine whether your customers like you or not.

You have to think of your business as a person, with all the personality traits people have. With this in mind, the next handful of articles will help you unlock your DNA or inherent competitive advantage and leverage it to increase market share, turnover etc.




Let’s start with the first of a series of simple exercises designed to help find the answer to the question: “What is your business purpose beyond financial results?”

In Adam Leipzig’s TED Talk called “How to Know Your Life Purpose in 5 Minutes” (see, he maintains answering these five questions can identify your life purpose. And so it is for businesses too.

1. Who are you? (Your business name.)


2. What do you (love to) do? (Answer this in one word! What is the one thing that right now your business is supremely qualified to teach other people?)


3. Who do you do it for? (Think about it, visualise it – who do you do it for? One word only!)


4. What do your customers want and/or need? (What do they want or need that they come to you so that you can give them this thing? Again one word only!)


5. How do they change or transform as a result? (One word or maybe a couple this time!)


This is a great way to get the ball rolling. However the real benefit comes when you mash your answers together to create an effective elevator pitch or short summary that quickly and simply defines you.

No more will you get tongue tied when asked the simple question “what do you do?” Nor will you see the person’s eyes glaze over when you reply. Complete this and you will have a powerful ice breaker to continue talking.

Next month we will be exploring the very foundations of your inherent competitive advantage!


Michael Major can help you unlock and leverage your inherent competitive advantage. Follow his articles over the next 12 issues, answer his questions and email Michael on for feedback. If you send answers from every issue for the next 12 issues you can be one of four people to win a free half day consultation.


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