Archive | Difference

All these articles illustrate why you need to stay different. Difference, more than anything else, drives value and allows you to achieve higher returns on capital in your business. Most businesses fail to give Difference enough attention, not just when starting out, but over time as competitive pressures increase and things change around them.


Post Sale Blues

It isn’t enough for people to buy your product, they also need to feel good about it. Have you ever suffered from buyers remorse? It’s the sense of regret you sometimes get after making a purchase: the very expensive watch that you thought might always be a family heirloom that turned out to just be […]

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Oil On Troubled Waters

Only compete on cost if you really are the lowest cost supplier. I like to read sea adventure stories and one of my favourite books is Fifty South To Fifty South the story of the Wander Bird’s journey under sail around Cape Horn in 1936. One of the things I like about it is how […]

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pantomime ghost

Looking For Your USP? It’s Behind You!

Sometimes your USP can be as elusive as a pantomime ghost. I have been party to many conversations over the years on the topic of differentiation: how to keep a product, or business, meaningfully different from the competition. It’s rather important in any business but it often gets little attention. At some stage in the […]

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dirk bogarde4

Who Are You?

How a bit of Ancient Greek from the Temple of Apollo can make you rich. Dirk Bogarde, the English actor and writer who died in 1999, famously said that to be a successful actor you just need “one great look”. He meant a distinctive look that you “own”, something that differentiates you, helps you to […]

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The Most Valuable Commodity in the World

If you want to make more money you need to get emotional with your brand. I had what I think of as a “Top Gear moment” the other day. A few years ago on this wonderful television programme, the show’s three automobile-musketeers were driving slowly down a swanky West London street wondering out loud what […]

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stay different

Between a ROC and a Hard Place

Great businesses can sustain great Returns On Capital. I have just searched my blog database (which you can find online here…) for “Tesco” and found 12 articles in the past few years, the latest in February 2014 (here…), which repeatedly decried Tesco’s mistaken focus on price rather than any other meaningful differentiation in this now […]

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naked bottles

Let’s Get Naked

Three things separate the great new businesses from the rest: strongly differentiated positioning; first mover advantage; and positive cash flow. My wish list for an ideal new business would be something like this: It would involve something that I was passionate and knowledgeable about. There would be strong and constant demand. The barriers to entry […]

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The Guessing Game

A business’ strategy should last longer than the tenure of the person in charge. It never ceases to surprise me just how many businesses don’t really have a very well thought out strategy. If they did it is unlikely that they would end up in quite the pickle that they so often find themselves in. […]

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Are You Hard To Classify?

Comparables are more useful for selling your business than your products. When Sidney De Haan fulfilled his post WWII ambition and opened a hotel in Folkestone in 1950 he soon realised that once the summer holiday-makers had gone home retired people flocked to the coast: he wisely began to cater especially for their needs.  He […]

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