Your company has long been positioned as a leader in your industry. The entrepreneurial and competitive spirit cascading through the organization inspires innovation. Without innovation, your company will find itself blending into the background with hundreds of other companies in the same market. Returning to profitability does not mean living in the past, but rather positioning for the future—without losing sight of how you got here.
From your early and humble beginnings, you realized that your products and services were becoming a ‘commodity.’ The moment when the majority of companies within a given industry can provide the same products or produce the same services—it becomes a ‘commodity.’ By leveraging existing or developing new technologies to make your products and services different from the competition, you ‘de-commoditize’ your business. In contrast, offering the services that make your company unique to other companies to add to their marketing mix ‘commoditizes’ your own services.
De-commoditization is a never-ending, full-time job. Most likely, technology has played an important role in your success. However, technology is also responsible for spring-boarding small companies onto your playing field—competing for your customers. Companies that leverage off-the-shelf solutions share the same capabilities, have identical advantages, and compete for business based entirely on price. Your company must establish a differentiator and separate from the pack to once again take the lead.
The window of opportunity for enjoying the exclusiveness of a new product or service is narrow. It is simply a matter of time before your closest competitors mirror your efforts. In many cases, your competition finds a way to offer the same services at a lower cost—making your services a ‘commodity’, and being in a better position to compete. You can combat this problem by making constant enhancements to your products and services—making it difficult for your competition to keep up.
Be aggressive and take charge of your organization. Do not become a spectator in your industry!