A Company of One: Competitive Advantages
There is a common theme in both business and career success that can ensure achievement for anyone who is committed to success in their career. This is the premise of representing and articulating Competitive Advantages. Competitive Advantages are not things you often will think about, yet they are the ‘success requirement’ for every well-written resume, every well-planned marketing campaign. Corporate business has known about the power of Competitive Advantages for years.

First, what are Competitive Advantages? Competitive Advantages are the sound reasons why you should be hired by your new employer, be promoted or considered an investment for training. Competitive Advantages are your unique selling points that in some way persuade and influence the listener or the reader to “buy” what you are selling. They are in brief, the reasons why anyone would consider the value of what you have to offer.

Arriving at these Competitive Advantages is based on a detailed discovery of:
 what it is you really have (who you are)
 what it is you really do (what you do)
 why your “buyer” should buy (what you can do for them)

Consider for a moment that you are a “company of one.” How would you sell this company to the world? Review the following generic list. Can you answer all of these questions? Is the information in the answers presented in your marketing materials (resume, cover letter)? In your articulation of what you do with your peers, management, supervisors, etc? If not, take some time to review and fill in the blanks, then consider what areas of this information your specific buyer would benefit in knowing. These will be your Competitive Advantages.

• What is your competency focus? Where is your greatest value to others?

• What is your “market: coverage? How involved are you in measuring and promoting your value?

• What resources or support do you have? What strategic alliances have you formed?

• What is your career or business reputation? What do people think when they see you?

• What is your flexibility? How do you commit your expertise, your attitude?

• How do you manage your ongoing expertise/ development? What is your currency of knowledge/application (credentials, new learning)

• Who are your strategic alliances? Present partners, possible partners?

Remember, in order to effectively market your Competitive Advantages, you will need to:

• Complete the list above with detailed answers

• Build or align a “career” plan to include your Competitive Advantages

• Consider which Competitive Advantages you can present to any “buyer”

• Identify your specific or unique “buyer”, consider which advantages they would most benefit from

• Create a positioning statement for your networking (who you are, what you do and what you can do for them!)

• Implement your Competitive Advantages-career plan and positioning statement

Taking the time in identifying and positioning your Competitive Advantages will greatly improve your success in your career. As you can see with the prior examples, Competitive Advantages can also assist in the success of others. Educate your family, friends and colleagues on the importance of this tool for their own career.