Have you ever heard businesses talk about their competitive advantage? The things that make them better than their competitors?

Competitive Advantage

This is an important concept for services and products because if they do not have some advantage over others in the marketplace, they will never succeed. Many businesses fail because they aren’t different or better than the competition.

What about you? Are you different or better than your competition? Competition might be a strong word to use when it comes to co-workers and I do not suggest you treat them as competitors to be taken down and beaten. {Side bar: I don’t think any business benefits from treating competition as something to be removed from the market. No one likes a jerk who does whatever it takes to win.}

However, there are times when only one person can be promoted or offered the lead of a new project. When you apply for a new job you are competing against the other applicants. Do you know how and why you are better or different? How you can make yourself shine without putting down anyone else?

Think of yourself as a service that your employer is buying and use these three aspects of competitive advantage to project your very best:

  1. Natural resources: What skills, processes, or tasks are you the very best at? Determine where you excel and do more of it. If your boss sees you continually succeeding, she will be more likely to look to you for better roles and projects. If you are looking for a job, highlight these skills as clearly and specifically as you can, using examples on your resume.
  2. Customer Service: You should think of your boss or those you support within your organization as your customers and you should give them the level of service you would want from any support line you call. Zappos is known for their excellent customer service and they continue thrive and gain customers because of it. Go above and beyond to delight your internal (and external) customers.
  3. Operational Effectiveness: This is about more than doing something really well. You can have excellent results that take a significant about of time or use too many resources. Continually be on the lookout for areas to improve processes. Can you streamline how something is handled? Can you consolidate certain reports to get the very heart of the information that is needed by leadership? Show that you not only do great work, but you use resources better than anyone else.

Treating the work you do as a service to be sold helps you hone in on what you are best and why someone should pick you. This is an important mindset even when working within a company and especially if you want to excel and move into more prominent roles.

What is your competitive advantage and how do you use it in the workplace? Let us know in the comments.