What is your Competitive Advantage?

By : Aaron Berger, Nebraska Extension Beef Educator

What is it about your product, skills, reputation, business structure, location or service that sets you apart from others? Photo credit Troy Walz.

One of the ways that beef producers can be successful in their business is to identify what their competitive advantage is in relation to their competition.  What is it about your product, skills, reputation, business structure, location or service that sets you apart from others?  What gives you a “leg up” on the competition?

Asking this question can be foundational in helping owners and managers see where there may be an opportunity that they hadn’t considered before or recognize new ways to further develop a competitive advantage.  If you find yourself in a bit of a mental struggle to perceive what your competitive advantage might be, consider asking yourself the following four “P” questions.

Place – What is it about our place, our location in the world, our climate, or our position as it relates to resources and our customer that is unique?  What benefits does our place provide for us that most others don’t have?

Passion – What passion do we have as it relates to resource management or beef production that differentiates us from others?  How can this passion be harnessed and developed to be a point of leverage that can enhance our business success?

Problem – What problems could we solve that would make our product or service unique and highly desirable? What would give “pop” to what we deliver as compared to what others do?

People – Who are the people we currently serve or could serve with the product or service we provide?  What do they want?  Is there a customer desire that we haven’t considered?  What could be the financial advantage to us if that desire could be met?

Involve other members of your family, employees and trusted advisors in this discussion as well.  Get their perspective on what they see as being a current or possible competitive advantage.  A fresh perspective from an outside source could open up a new way of thinking that you hadn’t considered before.

Beef production is foundationally a highly competitive commodity business.  However, within that business arena are value opportunities that producers can develop. Identifying what your competitive advantage is, or what it could be, can bring focus to where efforts and investments should be made in the business.

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