Differentiate I — What You Do

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“There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”

–  Unattributed, but a figure of speech for well over 200 years

Now, before all the animal-rights folks get fixin’ to cancel me — I am not suggesting that we remove the outer layer from Moose, the Heston family feline.  While I am not a “Cat Guy,” Moose is pretty danged cool and all….but I digress…

In this first of a three-part series on differentiation, however, it is worth noting that if the outcome is our chosen means of differentiation, we have to determine how comfortable we are competing with others who can and do accomplish the same outcome; perhaps more quickly, perhaps more inexpensively.  Perhaps more conveniently.  Perhaps…

In other words, if a “skinned cat” is the desired outcome, as long as Moose ends up needing a ton of sunscreen, there are many buyers that won’t care how he got to that point beyond how much it cost to accomplish a furless kitty.

There are, of course, shades of gray (oh, boy, there’s another reference that could get outta control…).  Example:  If I simply want a website up and accessible under a specific URL, I can do that through a number of do-it-myself options, or I can hire professionals for multiple tens of thousands of times what the DIY option might set me back.  (That speaks to tomorrow’s differentiation method, by the way…)

If any part of what we sell can be reduced by some part of the market to a “check-the-box” procurement exercise — and if what we do is the only thing we’re going to say makes us different, we have a steep climb ahead, either to be viable or certainly to be profitable.

As long as there’s more than one way – we had better be willing to differentiate on our way to do it instead of just “it.”

 


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Comments

  1. Good read Steve. If your not different it doesn’t matter, you just became a commodity like everyone else. Looking forward to part two when you start to “hang the meat on the bones”

    CK

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