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Companies survive by selling value to customers (five elements that make a business). The secret of incumbents (for example, how Nike managed to surpass Adidas, or how Dell managed to stay ahead of Compaq) may lie in the redefinition of value.

Once customers have a different idea of value, the incumbents will be out of reach for competition, even if the product is fundamentally the same.

There are three strategies that companies can implement to create leadership and separate from the competition:

  • Operational Excellence
  • Product Leadership
  • Customer Intimacy

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Operational Excellence leads to lower prices, shorter delivery times, etc.

Product Leadership means higher quality standards, or unique features.

Customer intimacy is achieved through different means, not just good sales pipelines, also the online presence, support, etc.

Many market leaders are champions in one dimension, while they deliver industry-standards in the other two.

Amazon is great at Operational Excellency, but lacks customer intimacy (beyond expectations), and the product (their website) is an interesting case of old-fashion design and barely disappointment.

A company like Oni.Bio is an interesting case. They work in an environment with big and well established players. They are a product-first company, but they project themselves as being close to the customer.

I wonder for deep tech and Instrumentation companies, especially if they are bringing some new technique to the market. What would be the best approach? Especially if Market requests for a technology are not completely fulfilled.

For a company to be successful, it should balance the focus on the three pillars. Excelling in only one will not be enough. Startups may struggle to be efficient in all, but customer intimacy can be worked on with low friction. Whether they focus for product leadership or operational excellence will depend on the business strategy.

Source: HBR


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